Snooth - Articles Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:48:29 -0400 Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:48:29 -0400 Snooth Bordeaux: Yea or nay? <p><div><br /> Bordeaux has had a bit of a rough ride over the past decade or so. With prices for the top growths spiralling out of control, and new consumers perfectly happy to forgo the classic, Bordeaux&rsquo;s future has seemed dim at times. Of course there are still tremendous values to be found in Bordeaux, &nbsp;but the popular perception of the region remains driven by the handful of classes growths. We asked our team of illustrious contributors what their view was of Bordeaux. It&rsquo;s a fascinating peek at what real opinion leaders think of Bordeaux, and shows that while Bordeaux may have lost its dominance over the years it remains an important wine for many of us.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Another curiosity here is that when we asked our contributors &ldquo;Do you do Bordeaux?&rdquo; we had red wines in mind. That was not always the case when our experts replied!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> photo courtesy <a href="">Megan Cole</a>&nbsp;via flickr cc</div><br /> </div><br /> <br /> </p> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article5599 Values in Bordeaux? Gregory Dal Piaz <p>Bordeaux gets a bad rap for several reasons. the top wines are ridiculously expensive. They also require significant time in the cellar to really show their stuff, and the style of these wines has changed over the years, becoming bolder, riper, and to many palates both less fresh and less complex. That&rsquo;s the problem with expensive Bordeaux, but there&rsquo;s a whole world of value priced Bordeaux that consumers should remember.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> While these wines rarely challenge their classified growth brethren (though they occasionally do), they continue to offer an authentic expression of Bordeaux. The issues with the big boys all play to the favor of these smaller wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Even though these wines benefit from ageing, they show their best after only a year or three in the cellar. And while they very rarely develop the nuance and complexity of the classified growths, they do offer consumers an inexpensive option for a wine that ages well. &nbsp;You could argue that virtually all wines age well to some extent, and you would be technically correct - but Bordeaux is special.&nbsp;<br /> The mature flavors and aromas of Cabernet and Merlot are notably more complex than most other wines at this price point. If the fruit is grown somewhere cool and fresh (where the wines produced speak of more than explosive fruit), even better. In this case we get the full range of herbal, savory and complex nuances. There is also the texture that a mature wines offers. Silky, easy to drink yet with tension in the mouth. That is something that is hard to come by with value price points, but if you enjoy aged Rioja and Chianti you know what I&rsquo;m talking about. While released in a more youthful state, value priced Bordeaux is another rare wine that can offer such textural nuance without breaking the bank.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The ripeness and boldness that is can be part of Bordeaux does not exist at this price level. For starters, no one can afford to drop yields precipitously and still sell a bottle of Bordeaux for under $15. What does that mean? Well, low yields tend to give rich wines with plenty of alcohol, and that is not really what Bordeaux is about. Some of the change in style over the past two decades or so can be attributed to climate change, but in the case of these wines, where vineyards in less than ideal locations are carrying full crop loads, it simply means that grapes are getting ripe (as opposed to over-ripe and jammy.) It&rsquo;s a distinct advantage that the value priced producer of Bordeaux have rarely enjoyed -- until now.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> So here you have what might turn out to be a bit of a golden age for value priced Bordeaux. Lower demand is keeping prices down and yet the wines are better than ever. There is no doubt that vintage variation also plays an important role in the quality of any particular bottle of Bordeaux, as it obviously does elsewhere around the world. But in this day and age, most producers will only bottle what they feel is a good wine. We can disagree, but for the most part we should stop thinking of vintages as good and bad per se, and begin instead to think of them as agers or mid-week wines; fruity wines or savory wines. While each of us might have a personal preference for one style or the other, the marketplace as a whole has proven that there is a palate for every wine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> So take some time to discover Bordeaux. These wines are rich with history and historical importance. Bordeaux inspired a whole class of imitators, so it&rsquo;s important that we know and understand what a Bordeaux blend originally tasted like! I love a good bottle of Bordeaux, and while the classic match of lamb and Bordeaux is terrific, many of these lighter styled wines pair wonderfully with foods that we commonly eat. Take meatloaf, or a lovely stew. These dishes have proven to be a wonderful partner for a modest bottle of Bordeaux. And about ageing, don&#39;t be afraid to buy a few extra bottles of your favorite value Bordeaux. They are wines that, perhaps more than any other at this price point, benefit from 2-5 years in the cellar!</div><br /> <div><br /> [PAGEBREAK]</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Chateau Labrousse Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux 13.5% &nbsp;$15</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Imported by: Plume Ridge&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Nuanced on the nose with hints of dried flowers and herbs creeping from the glass followed by a lovely spice notes, more violet accents, a hint of rosemary and black currant fruit. A bit round and fruity on entry then this quickly gains focus in the mouth with notes of tobacco, ash, ands soil emerging early on the palate followed by and elegant mineral flecked midpalate that leads to a moderately long finish replete with wild cherry, black raspberry, &nbsp;and dried herbal flavors. The tannins are firm but covered by the fruit and the acidity well judged. This is quite good and rather classic Bordeaux in a slightly fruity style. 88pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Chateau Moulin de Lavergne Bordeaux 13% $13</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Imported by: Apollo Fine Spirits</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Now this is different all woodsy and quinine riddled on the nose, a decidedly savory and medicinal nose with chalky accents and huge aromas of dried herbs and green peppercorn spice. In the mouth there as astringency as the nose suggests but this is also lively and fresh with juicy acids and fine ripe tannins supporting tart red raspberry and red currant fruit. Transparent, lively and energetic in the mouth,this may not be particularly complex but it is delightful with some nuanced mineral and vitamin notes on the backend along with &nbsp;dried floral and dried herb flavors that permeate the rather long, juicy, and delightfully red fruited finish. &nbsp;87pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Chateau Bourbon La Chapelle Medoc 13% $15</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Imported by: Frederick Wildman and Sons</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Herbaceous and smoky on the nose,rich with black currant aromas and laced with savory dried chili and spicy herbaceous notes this smells like difficult Bordeaux. &nbsp;rather filled with fruit on entry and rather focused at the same time,this is in fact somewhat difficult Bordeaux with a sense of transparency on the palate, flavors of slightly candied and cocoa dusted red currant and almost pomegranate tinged plummy fruit. The acidity is lively on the palate and the tannins here rather sparse, dry , and decidedly classic. Finishing with nice freshness of fruit and good persistence, this would be hard to mistake for anything but Bordeaux. I&rsquo;ll keep drinking this. 87pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Baron de Luze Bordeaux &nbsp;14% $14</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Imported by: Luxco Inc</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Carob, tobacco, and dried plums feature prominently on the nose which shows some evolution yet retains a bit of the herbaceousness, smoke, and black currant fruit of youth. Supple in the mouth, yet bright and focused with subtle flavors of black currants, dried herbs, leather and just a suggestion of wood spice adding additional detail. This &nbsp;is ready to drink and is a pleasure in the mouth with tannins that just barely pop through the plum and dried berry fruit on the long finish. &nbsp;It&rsquo;s Bordeaux so it&rsquo;s neither fruity nor soft but it is ripe and polished and fairly complex with a lovely nuanced finish that retains attractive plum and berry fruit but also adds in savory and herbaceous notes. 87pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Chateau Saint-Sulpice Bordeaux 13% $13</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Imported by: Frederick Wildman and Sons</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Rather open on the nose with pencil lead and mushroom framing notes around a bright and vivid core of black currant fruit and smoky roasted chilies &nbsp;There&rsquo;s a touch of leathery gaminess here as well but this still smells quite youthful. Ripe and fruity on entry, round even with a slightly fleshy feel to it and flavors that are tense and clear, raspberries, dried plums, &nbsp;and roasted herbs followed by hint of the chilies from the nose and subtle spice notes from oak, even a shading of nuttiness that adds detail to the dark fruit. this explodes on the finish, and while it turns a bit tannic, there are lovely leather, licorice and dried fruit flavors here that show terrific persistence. Drinking very well with a few years left to go. 86pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Chateau Petit-Freylon Cuvee Sarah Bordeaux Superieur 13.5% $12</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Imported by: Misa Imports</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Sweet, fresh and violet rich aromatics greet the nose followed by &nbsp;aroma of wild plums, almost tropical fruit, cinnamon and clay. &nbsp;Ths is smooth and polished with a fair amount of sweet extract concealing the acid and very soft tannins on the palate. Decidedly plummy in the mouth, and more a wine of texture than flavor, the acids struggle to shine through here, lighting up flashes of red fruit on the palate that blink through the base of plums and chocolate pudding. &nbsp;there&rsquo;s a hint of brushy herbs and a meaty note here. This is rather young today and I bet this improves, though for those looking for a fruitier style of Bordeaux this is already drinking quite well with a nice black cherry note riding the tannins through the long finish. 86pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Chateau Roc De Levraut Bordeaux Superieur 13% $13</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Imported by: Frederick Wildman and Sons</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Earthy on the nose and slightly vegetal with hints of beetroot and older wood laying under sassafras laced aromas of black cherry and plum &nbsp;with just a hint of mocha. Smooth and moderately rich in the mouth, this retains an austere quality in the mouth though there is no shortage of fruit. Black plums and black currants are wrapped up with subtle dried herb notes and a faint nuttiness that lends this some additional complexity in the mouth. A bit drying on the finish which shows some vegetal and herbal notes, , this does have a bit of length to the black fruits of the palate and the tannins, while prominent, are ripe and well integrated. This is quite good, just a hint chunky today but this promises to age quite well over the coming year or three, perhaps longer. 86pts</div><br /> <div><br /> [PAGEBREAK]</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Exem Bordeaux 13% $13</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Imported by: Winesellers Ltd.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> At first a bit sweet and raspberry scented on the nose with some soapy floral notes, a touch of wood spice and some mineral steely accents emerging with air. Bright acids in the mouth lend this a refreshing and bright feel. Rather medium light bodied with lovely raspberry and red currant fruit that carries with it the lightly sweet suggestion found on the nose along with delicate hints of dried herbs and tree bark. The tannins here are modest but present, lending some firmness on the palate to this rather easy to drink example of Bordeaux that ends with a nice, clean, if modest finish. &nbsp;85pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Chateau Bonnet Bordeaux 13% $12</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Imported by: Deutsch Family Wines &amp; Spirits</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A bit raw woody on the nose with attractive if discrete underlying plummy fruit that has some peppery and floral accents to it. Smooth and simple in the mouth with integrated acidity and soft tannins that roll over the tongue with the plummy and violet tinged fruit. Clean with lovely black currant and herbal notes on the moderately long and aromatic finish, this remains a bit foursquare in the mouth and even a bit clumsy on the nose with it&rsquo;s oaken aromas and with wood tannins in the mouth that dry out the finish. 84pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Chateau Fonfroide Bordeaux 13% $12</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Jammy, slightly herbal and moderately complex on the nose with fine oak base notes, hints of blue flowers and a touch of spicy plummy fruit. A touch soft on entry, and perhaps with just a suggestion of sweetness, this is chunky and smooth in the mouth with tannins that are small if slightly angular. A little indistinct on the palate, the flavors are fruity but without complexity as this delivers creamy, slightly buttery black cherry fruit on the palate before the oak adds a counterpoint on the backend and through the moderately long finish. the acid is here, emerging on the finish, but this lacks some definition in the mouth. Smells more impressive than it tastes though these has a rather elegant feel to it. 84pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Chateau Reynaud-Lacoste Bordeaux 12.5% $13</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Imported by: Apollo Fine Spirits</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Not particularly aromatic with faint sour red fruit aromas and suggestions of smoke, soil, leather and dried flowers subtly emerging on the nose. Fruity and tart in the mouth, this is pleasant if rustic with a curiously jammy edge to the tart wild cherry and raspberry flavors. Simple, fresh, and fun to drink with candied cherry fruit through the modest and slightly drying finish, this is Bordeaux for a party, a wine that has a new world feel to it yet retains some classic structural elements. 84pts&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Chateau Bois Pertuis Bordeaux &nbsp;13.5% $15</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A bit oaky on the nose but also quite fruity with plummy aromas and some blueberry and blackcurrant accents all topped with peppery spice and hints of vanilla and clove. Soft in the mouth, supple with modest acidity lending this a rich and slightly thick feel on the palate. the tannins are also ripe and soft and this sort of seeps across the palate with fresh blackberry and blackcurrant flavors revealing some firmer wood tannins in the midpalate &nbsp;and through the &nbsp;slightly minty, touch and chewy finish. Perhaps both A bit over-ripe and over-extracted, but made in a modern style that has it adherents. Weighty. 84pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Chateau Gromel Bel Air Bordeaux Superieur 13% $11</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Imported by: Monsieur Touton</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A bit stinky on the nose with aromas of pencil shavings and leather framing a core of spicy black fruit all bathed in vanilla tinged cedary oak. Smooth and rich up front, this thins out a bit on the palate revealing delicate woodsy black currant fruit that has a slight dried plum/cocoa cast to it. &nbsp;The finish is long if dry and while there some nice fruit weight here, the tannins are a bit too imposing for it to emerge on the palate. 83pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> </p> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article5597 Flowers, Minerals, Black Cherries! Gregory Dal Piaz <p><div><br /> <div><br /> It&rsquo;s not what you think it is, and I&rsquo;m not sure what the producers think it should be. What it should be is a light wine, something really fresh and pretty, but at other times a bit darker with a lacy tannic appeal and subtle floral, mineral and spicy perfumes framing a gorgeous core of dark cherry fruit.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> It&rsquo;s a wine that is decidedly at home in the summertime, but adaptable enough to work well in the seasons that bracket summer as well. Particularly well suited to the fall are the richer spicier versions, many of which are made in the ripasso style. Ripasso, repassed, as in over the gross lees of Amarone. What is that? Well, in the Veneto you can find Valpolicella made in a fresh style, then you can also find Valpolicella&rsquo;s big brother Amarone. Made from grapes that have been air dried for months, Amarone is a much deeper, richer, and more alcoholic wine than playful Valpolicella.</div><br /> </div><br /> <br /><br /> <br /> <div><br /> As with all wine, when Amarone is made into wine it is drawn off its solids. Now is the time for ripasso when the fresh, young Valpolicella wine is placed in the barrel with the pressed skins of the Amarone wine. &nbsp;The Valpolicella then rests on those gross lees picking up some of Amarone&rsquo;s intensity and complexity, but also fermenting again adding a bit more alcohol to the finished wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Ripasso is what many people think of when they think of Valpolicella, and many producers certainly think quite highly of it. Thinking that it makes for a better wine, and at bare minimum a wine that is more competitive on a global stage. If similarity breeds competition then that might be true, but precisely because of Valpolicella&rsquo;s shortcomings, the light body, lower alcohol, and simple freshness I tend to prefer these wines to ripasso style bottlings.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> It&rsquo;s a personal thing. I know folks who can&rsquo;t think of Valpolicella as a serious wine unless it&rsquo;s ripasso. That&rsquo;s a shame. Even the most serious among us have their playful moments. That is why I turn to Valpolicella. It&rsquo;s a terrific wine with pasta. I particularly like it with baked pasta dishes, but the lighter style and lower alcohol also make these wines wonderfully food friendly. Consider a Valpolicella next time you&rsquo;re serving pork and if there&rsquo;s a little spice to the dish, some mole sauce for example, even better. You&rsquo;ll be surprised how well the spicy character of Valpolicella, this light elegant wine, emerges with the right food pairing. And if there&rsquo;s not enough wine there, well then there can always be a ripasso in your future!</div><br /> <div><br /> [PAGEBREAK]</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong style="font-size: 20px; color:maroon">Zenato</strong><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Zenato Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 14% $26</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Majority Corvina with 10% Rondinella and 10% Croatina and Osceleta in a typical blend.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>18 months &nbsp;in barrique</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Smoky, a bit of awkward oak, needs to integrate on the intense licorice, smoked meat, and black fruit scented nose. &nbsp;Juicy, big and mouth filling, if a bit edgy on the palate. This has a nice mineral base lurking under masses of dark fruit, jammy blackberry fruit on entry, then a bit denser. This has a nice modest structure and holds its alcohol very well, ending with good juicy length to the black cherry skin on the finish. 89pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Zenato Valpolicella &nbsp;Superiore 13.5% $15</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Majority Corvina with 10% Rondinella and 10% Sangiovese</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A little raw, spicy, and hard on the nose with fresh, crisp fruit. in the mouth this is a bit smoky with bright minerality supporting hints of licorice and burnt brownie. Light and clear on the palate, simple fresh and pure, with a clean fresh finish, there&rsquo;s a touch of fruit skin tannin here fleshing out lovely black raspberry fruit. 87pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong style="font-size: 20px; color:maroon">Tommaso Bussola</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2009 Bussola Valpolicella Ripasso Ca del Laito $25</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Earthy with a bit of toasty wood early on the nose followed by lots of red fruit and dried leathery black fruit, over a very floral base. Glycerin rich on entry, this is quite round and slippery on entry and decidedly fruity with a nice base of minerality covered with very fresh, black cherries, raspberries. A hint of early bitterness enlivens the palate &nbsp;which remains a bit on the chewy side. I love the way this wine picks up the spice and dried fruit character of the lees yet remains fresh and lively. 90pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2008 Bussola Valpolicella Classico Superiore TB $40</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Ripasso</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Selected musts, then aged in botte of second passage, then in 60hl for one year</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Incense, mineral, black fruit skin, greet the nose, full, deep and precise, rich, a bit leathery, deep with fresh red and dried raisin and prune fruits. there&rsquo;s a hint of wood here and a suggestion of evolution as well. This is superbly aromatic in the mouth, big black fruit on the palate all laced with medicinal, and licorice notes leading to a lovely spice on the backend, and a long savory, mineral and dried fruit finish. Moderately big for a Valpolicella but with such great clarity in the mouth. 92pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong style="font-size: 20px; color:maroon">Masi</strong><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Masi Valpolicella Bonacosta $15</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Slightly carbonic nose, shows mineral, and fruity aromas with with peppery accents. Opening with fine young tannins, this is bright and zesty but rather savory and more herbal than fruity on the palate. Clean and fresh on the finish, a bit raw on the nose, and decidedly chalky and slightly astringent. &nbsp;83pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Masi Valpolicella Campofiorin Rosso Veronese $15</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Valpolicella Ripasso</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A little smoky and earthy on the nose which is curiously a bit nutty as well. Made in a polished, fairly rich style, this features a nice blend of fresh plum and dried cherry fruit that&#39;s a bit medicinal and short but smooth as silk with a hint of vanilla over the wild cherry fruit up front, and sneaky length, with flavors of grapes skin and minerals on the crisp little finish. 87pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong style="font-size: 20px; color:maroon">Tommasi</strong><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Tommasi Valpolicella Classico Superiore Rafael $15</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Molinara, corvina, rondinella</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Aged 15 months in large format wood</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Spicy on the nose, and redolent of small wild flowers wrapped around blue and black fruits. Supple and broad on the palate, this really reaches from side to side of the mouth with attractively aromatic blue floral inner mouth perfumes, &nbsp;a hint of something candied and minty and then a core of slightly wild plummy, extract of wild cherry fruit. Theres &nbsp;good focus and nice freshness to the fruit, with a little black spice on the modest finish. This is a crowd pleaser. 87pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Tommasi Valpolicella Ripasso $23</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Pepper, leather, dried blue flowers, and a hint of grilled meats frame subtle fruit on the nose. With a hint of sweetness on entry, this turns immediately round and generous in the mouth. Silky, though with some weight to the polished black cherry fruit on the palate that shows flashes of mint and spice leading to a lightly spiced, baked cherry and dried plum finish which has notable persistence. 88pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong style="font-size: 20px; color:maroon">Speri</strong><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Speri Valpolicella Classico $NA</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Molinara a gives minerality and freshness</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Gorgeous on the nose, all crushed fruit and flowers, and some low minty wild herbs slowly emerging with air. &nbsp;Delicate, juicy and simply vibrant on the palate with lovely purity to the flavors of crushed cherry fruit framed with violets and dried herb highlIghts ending with a firm, tart lingonberry jam note. Bracing and cleansing, with a fine ash mineral vein that drives through the palate. This is Valpolicella Classico 90pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Speri La Roverina Valpolicella Classico Superiore $17</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>10 months in large format wood</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Smells less fresh though more complex than the straight valpolicella. The wood here is obvious but well integrated, and tones down the violet aromas, inching the fruit towards black berry with darker cherry shadings. A &nbsp;touch smoky, light but fairly fullish bodied for a lighter styled wine, there&#39;s power here and a little creaminess. The acid is well integrated, and the fruit &nbsp;slightly jammy and raspberry/strawberry toned in the mouth, laid over a base of tightly packed fine grained wood tannins adding volume and extending the finish. This is nicely fruited, elegant and notably substantial for a Valpolicella. 89pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Speri Valpolicella Ripasso $25</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>20 months in botte</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Lots of dark dried fruit greets the nose along with a little pencil lead. This is supple in the mouth, rich and soft with lots of creamy edges to the dark cherry fruit. Wood tannins add some spiciness to the palate, and this is very fresh with acid and stony/mineral notes on the finish. Moderately rich and deceptively so with lovely freshness of fruit on the palate, this is all about fresh crushed cherry and violet aromatics on the midpalate along with an edge of autumn spice. The tannins offer mouth grab and spice on the finish which is moderately long, and perfumed. 91pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Speri Sant&#39;Urbano Valpolicella Classico $32</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Appassimento 25 to 35 days</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>20 months in wood</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> First the amarone grapes are selected for amarone, then the ones that remain are used for this wine, started with this wine in the 1980s</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Lots of oak and chocolate on the nose, smells like a statement wine, meaty, earthy, fine almost sage and paprika notes all cascade across the nose. &nbsp;On the palate this is elegant, soft and focused, a nice blend of modern and traditional. The acid kicks in the midpalate, then the fruit, and then the oak, everything sort of collapses on one another in the mouth. This certainly doesn&#39;t feel like a valpolicella in the mouth. It&rsquo;s very modern and polished, oak pops up from time to time, early, then later after the fruit then persistent on the finish but never overwhelming the rather clean finish. This needs some time to knit together, though it finishes with a fine blend of lightly dried fruit, mineral driven earth and subtle mocha oak character that is balanced and long, boding well for the future if you appreciate the style. 88pts</div><br /> <div><br /> [PAGEBREAK]</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong style="font-size: 20px; color:maroon">Le Ragose</strong><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Le Ragose Valpolicella $NA</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A bit oily, with dark stemmy aromas on the nose and lots of dried floral and almost autumnal spice notes. Almost sweet on entry, then broad in the mouth with assertive saline minerality to the clear and bright palate which gains firmness from a base of fine grained tannins. &nbsp;Elegant in the mouth, this has some weight up front but finishes with a touch of austerity and superb clarity to the darker toned raspberry fruit that lingers on the long finish. 89pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2008 &nbsp;Le Ragose Valpolicella Ripasso $20</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Dark cherry fruit greets the nose along with layers of &nbsp;spicy, earthy, slightly oaky, and decidedly medicinal herbal aromas that have a slight beet root edge to them. Bright acids on entry promise a fresh wie though this immediately reveals a bit of a meaty palate rich with dark cherry fruit, rose petals, and then masses of minerally, roasted meat and beet root flavors on the palate. The tannins poke through on the finish and are a bit dry here, though there is enough bay leaf, mineral, and red fruit flavors to almost keep them covered through the long finish. 89pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2009 Le Ragose Valpolicella Superiore le Sassine $NA</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Spicy on the nose, which is a little leafy, with curranty fruit and some paprika accents. Big and rich with wild raspberry and cherry fruit carrying faint shadings of chocolate on the palate. This is, bitterish, deep but transparent on the palate with fresh tannins, lively acids, fine minerality on the backend good length to the dark cherry rhubarb finish with lingering bitter minerality, but what is most striking is the impressive clarity of fruit on the palate and through the finish. This has focus. 90pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2009 Le Ragose Valpolicella Superiore Marta Galli $30</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Smoky steminess on the nose lends this a Cabernet Franc like perfume laden with a little pyrazine note. Rich and velvety in the mouth, this is a mini Amarone with deep fruit that&rsquo;s a little pruny, more prunes in alcohol than dried fruit. This is quite front loaded on the palate, fairly tannic and with a rich vein of herbal extract and Vegemite flavors lending a bitter cast to the core of black cherry fruit. there&rsquo;s a bit of mintiness here and some drying tannins that clip the finish a bit. A bit of an oddity and while well made outside of what I expect from Valpolicella. &nbsp;87pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong style="font-size: 20px; color:maroon">Tedeschi</strong><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Tedeschi Lucchine Valpolicella Classico $15</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>SS, only wine from the flat vineyard on the plains</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Gorgeously &nbsp;floral on the nose, with a lovely core of crushed blueberry, and wild berry almost black currant aromas. On the palate one finds big acid driven red fruit flavors supported by some nice fine tannins and a bit of minerality all leading to a nice cherry skin finish. Juicy, firm and brightly vivid in the mouth this is all about fresh and lasting fruit. 87pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Tedeschi Capitel Nicalo Valpolicella Superiore $20</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Dried for 25 to 30 days, aged in wood for year</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Smoky on the nose with hints of smoldering herbs framing aromas of dark fruit, lots of flinty mineral notes, rosehips, dried fruit and green peppercorn spice. Almost sweet on entry, with a fine base of tannins, this reveals rose petal and slightly plummy fruit on the palate with lots of spice and leafy accents. Smooth and rich with a nice licorice candy base note, some dry tannins ground the finish then bright acids pop up supporting a dark berry, &nbsp;cherry finale. T%his is complex, supple, fruity and well balanced. A certain winner for a crowd. 89pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Tedeschi Corasco IGT delle Venezie $20</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Appassimento breve</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Corvina 75% raboso 5, refosco 20</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Lots of tobacco and carob on the nose with plenty of spice notes, green leaf, and green peppercorn. This is very fruity on entry, with lots of strawberry and fine almost blue fruits in an elegant style. The midplate reveals a little plumpness with tons of pure, crushed wild berry fruit, and clean, firm mineral driven flavors through the finish. This has crazy intensity to the violet aromas on the nose and in the mouth where they lend a blue cast to the fruit. tannins turna &nbsp;touch dusty in the mouth, but this remains fascinating and fairly intense. 90pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Tedeschi Capitel San Rocco Valpolicella Ripasso $25</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Peppery on the nose with precise aromas of black pepper corn, dark fruit, and briar wood, that picks up a little pollen floral tone and some gentle baking spice with air. This is a lovely small wine with a slightly creamy texture that remains quite aromatic in the mouth with a floral extract quality over red fruit flavors. Bright acids and lively tannins lends this great textural complexity, with the slightly stemmy tannins adding savory length to the elegant finish. Clean, dry and absolutely refreshing. 91pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Tedeschi Valpolicella Superiore Maternigo $35</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Chalky and tight on the nose with reticent notes of dried herbs and emerging notes of tobacco, and huge soil tones. This is a big Valpolicella, a little chewy, packed with fruit that retains &nbsp;a nice edge of bitterness that recalls apple,seeds. Air brings out the violets on the nose, while bright acids add lift to the juicy blueberry, red currant, and strawberry fruits on the palate. Finishing with huge mineral cut and super tannic reverb, this almost has a jammy quality to the fruit but then so much freshness coming from acid and minerality lends this energy and vibrancy in the mouth. The power of Amarone, the vibrancy of Valpolicella. 92pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong><a href="">2010 Tedeschi Valpolicella Classico Superiore La Fabriseria</a> $35</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Some stem inclusion</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Stemmy and spicy on the &nbsp;high toned and complex nose that shows some light medicinal shadings over fine floral accent notes with &nbsp;a leathery fruit base. &nbsp;Thick and a bit powerful for Valpolicella, this is built on a hard tannic base, and they are chewy tannins, though paired with fine acids that are covered by the rich fruit. With noticeable stemmy flavors on the palate one finds lots of briar and stem framing the core of tobacco and cherry fruit. This is tannic, and long, but more savory than fruity and while it&rsquo;s interesting I&rsquo;m not sure there&rsquo;s enough fruit here for this to improve much as the tannins subside. &nbsp;87pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong style="font-size: 20px; color:maroon">Bertani</strong><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Bertani Valpolicella $14</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Slate, iron, floral notes of African violet with those herbal base notes and dried herbs all billow from the glass helping to frame the core of crushed berry fruit here. This also has a slightly astringent edge to it with a hint of mint and white soil tones on the nose. Bright, fresh and transparent in the mouth with attractive clarity and minerality to the slightly black toned, wild blackberry, &nbsp;strawberry and white cherry fruit. A whisper of tannins drive the persistently mineral and dark cherry fruit on the moderately long finish which shows fine acid lift. This is light and fresh but as is typically the case not a fruity wine. In its style it is excellent. 87pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Bertani Secco Ripasso $20</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Aged in botte of oak and a small part in cherry, Valpantena gives hard, &nbsp;mineral driven wines.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Floral and mineral on the nose with strong aromas of limestone and mineral water, over underlying spice with hints of violets and some dried cherry fruit. Fresher and lighter on entry than one might expect but this quickly gains focus in the mouth with good acids and austere little tannins adding dryness and depth to the palate. The flavors are subtle, much more mineral, redolent of iron and rust, than fruity though there is fine underlying raspberry and wild cherry fruit here. The finish is all cut and firmness, if a bit on the short side. A very nervy vintage. 87pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Secco Bertani Original Vintage Edition $30</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>A copy of the original blend.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Just a bit of Corvinone and other varieties, merlot, osceleta, Sangiovese, first part of fermentation in SS, then once it slows down it finishes in botte cherry and chestnut, instead of finishing in eight days the fermentation lingers for thirty even forty days, the long slow fermentation allows the wine to gain sweetness, not jamminess but gentleness, aged in botte for about a year</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Rose petals and cinnamon greet the nose with some mace and sweet gum aromas laid over soft cherry and smoky, balsamic strawberry fruit with hints of cherry wood spice. Soft on entry, though broad with a fine tissue like texture in the mouth. This delicately covers the palate, with subtly oozing cherry fruit and wild raspberry flavors that carry little stony tannins with them. Quite detailed in the mouth, this finishes cleanly with great length, slightly austere tannins, and lovely aromatic fruit, that shows more rose petal and a subtle edge of dried orange peel on the finish. This is very sexy in a subtle and refined way, with real persistence to the fruit. 90pts</div><br /> </div><br /> </div><br /> </div><br /> </div><br /> </div><br /> </div><br /> </div><br /> </div><br /> <br /><br /> </p> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article5595 5 Unique Wine Grapes to Focus on this Fall Gregory Dal Piaz <p><div><br /> I know the idea of wines being seasonal is kind of misplaced, after all a late afternoon snack of goat cheese calls for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc whether it&rsquo;s summer or winter, but we do tend to drink certain wines at certain times of the year, in no small part because our diet changes with the seasons. As it gets colder our diet gets richer, heavier, and often more deeply flavored, and our wines have to keep up, but we don&rsquo;t want to jump headfirst into the wines of winter do we? No, of course not. That would be silly, and what would I write about in 13 weeks time when we are awaiting the arrival of winter? No, today let&rsquo;s focus on some unusual middleweight wines that are perfect as our warm days transition into cool nights.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> </p> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article4897 New World Syrah for the Fall Gregory Dal Piaz <p><html><br /> <body style="margin:0px"><br /> <table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"><br /> <tr><br /> <td bgcolor="#AEB4A6"><br /> <% intro_text %><br /> <table width="762" border="0" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><br /> <tr><br /> <td style="font-size:0pt; line-height:0pt;"><br /> <br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td valign="top" bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><br /> <table width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><br /> <tr><br /> <td height="4" style="font-size:0; line-height:0;"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> </table><br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <table width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><br /> <tr><br /> <td height="10" style="font-size:0; line-height:0;"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td width="12" rowspan="2"><br /> <img src="" width="10" height="1"><br /> <img height="1" width="1" src=",we,wesn,wesne"><br /> </td><br /> <td width="426" rowspan="2" valign="top"><br /> <table width="100%" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" border="0"><br /> <tr><br /> <td style="color:#324d23; font:14px Georgia, Times, serif;"><br /> <strong><br /> </strong><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td style="color:#324d23; font:14px Georgia, Times, serif;"><br /> <br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td height="6" style="font-size:0pt; line-height:0pt;"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td><br /> <table id="Table_01" style="width: 413px; height: 31px;" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"><br /> <tbody><br /> <tr><br /> <td><a href="<% email_share_link %>" target="_blank"> <img src="" border="0" alt="" /></a></td><br /> <td><a href="" target="_blank"> <img src="" border="0" alt="" /></a></td><br /> <td><a href=" World Syrah for the Fall%20via%20@snooth%20" target="_blank"> <img src="" border="0" alt="" /></a></td><br /> </tr><br /> </tbody><br /> </table><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td height="6" style="font-size:0pt; line-height:0pt;"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td style="color:#324d23; font:normal 26px Georgia, Times, serif;" height="35" valign="bottom"><br /> <br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td height="5" style="font-size:0pt; line-height:0pt;"></td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td style="color:#7d7d7d; font:17px Georgia, Times, serif;"><br /> <em></em><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td height="25" style="font-size:0pt; line-height:0pt;"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td valign="top"><br /> <br /> <!-- start main image wrapper --><br /> <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" border="0" align="left"><br /> <tr><br /> <td><br /> <!-- start main image --><br /> <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" border="0" align="right"><br /> <tr><br /> <td width="1" height="1" colspan="5" bgcolor="#cbcbcb" style="font-size:0; line-height:0;"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td width="1" bgcolor="#cbcbcb"><br /> </td><br /> <td width="1" height="3" colspan="3" style="font-size:0; line-height:0;"><br /> </td><br /> <td width="1" bgcolor="#cbcbcb"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td width="1" bgcolor="#cbcbcb"><br /> </td><br /> <td width="3"><br /> </td><br /> <td style="font-size:0; line-height:0;"><br /> <a title="New World Syrah for the Fall" href="" target="_blank"><br /> <img src="" height="299" width="222" border="0" /><br /> </a><br /> </td><br /> <td width="3"><br /> </td><br /> <td width="1" bgcolor="#cbcbcb"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td width="1" bgcolor="#cbcbcb"><br /> </td><br /> <td width="1" height="3" colspan="3" style="font-size:0; line-height:0;"><br /> </td><br /> <td width="1" bgcolor="#cbcbcb"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td width="1" height="1" colspan="4" bgcolor="#cbcbcb" style="font-size:0; line-height:0;"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td colspan="5" style="font-size:0; line-height:0;" height="10"> </td><br /> </tr><br /> </table> <br /> <!-- end main image --><br /> </td><br /> <td width="15" bgcolor="#ffffff"> </td><br /> </tr> <br /> </table><br /> <!-- end main image wrapper --><br /> <br /> <br /> <font face="Georgia, Times New Roman, serif" color="#273038" style="font-size:13px; line-height:20px;"><br /> Syrah is one of the perfect wines with which to welcome autumn. It can certainly be a full-bodied wine, but since it&#39;s not quite as assertive as Cabernet based wines, and packs less of an alcoholic punch than many Zinfandels and Chateauneuf du Papes, I find it a perfect fit for fall. Its naturally smoky, meaty aromas are balanced by crisp black raspberry and boysenberry fruit, recalling the flavors and aromas of the season. Structurally, Syrah comes equipped with zesty acids and fine tannins making it a wine that is equally enjoyable at the dining table, or on it&#39;s own.&nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In the past many &quot;New World&quot; producers tried to tame Syrah. Most have now come to the conclusion that there are simply too many who enjoy the peppery, gamy, nuanced flavors of Syrah to continue to ignore them. While the Syrah produced in warmer climates, frequently equated with this &quot;New World&quot; style, are fundamentally different from their cooler climate counterparts, with a soft nature and more pronounced fruit, it is no less compelling a style. Syrah is going through an identity crisis of sorts, and you the drinker are the beneficiary. Get out there and sample what the world has to offer before everyone rediscovers Syrah, and prices climb back to where they should be: equal to some of the finest wines of the world.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <h2><br /> What to expect: Syrah</h2><br /> One of the few grapes to truly be a global success, Syrah (aka Shiraz) combines a meaty core of ripe berry fruit with tones that range from herbal to peppery, in a package that tends to the medium bodied end of the spectrum pairing good acidity and moderate tannins. With age the wines can gain lovely leathery and black olive notes that makes them a great match for savory and gamy dishes.<br /><br /> <br /> </font><br /> <br /> <br /> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><br /> <a style="color: #41682d; font-size: 17px; font-style:italic; font-family:georgia,times,serif;" href=""><br /> Read the Full Article »</a><br /> </h3><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> </table><br /> </td><br /> <td width="12" rowspan="2"><br /> </td><br /> <td width="300" valign="top"><br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> </td><br /> <td width="12" rowspan="2"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> </table><br /> <table width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><br /> <tr><br /> <td height="15" style="font-size:0pt; line-height:0pt;"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> </table><br /> <table width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><br /> <tr><br /> <td height="1" style="font-size:0pt; line-height:0pt;"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td width="12" style="font-size:0pt; 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line-height:0;"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td width="638"><br /> <font style="font-family:Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:10px; color:white;">Snooth Inc. / 49 West 24th Street / 5th Floor / New York / NY / 10010 <br /><br /><br /> To make sure this and future emails arrive in your inbox rather than your junk mail folders add "<a href="" target="_blank" style="color:#ffffff"></a>" to your address book or safe list. To unsubscribe from this type of email, <a href="<% unsubscribe_link %>" style="color:#ffffff">click here</a>. To manage your notification preferences or to unsubscribe from all Snooth emails, <a href="<% email_preferences %>" style="color:#ffffff">click here</a>. Having trouble viewing this email? Click <a href="" target="_blank" style="color:#ffffff">here</a>.</font><br /> </td><br /> <td width="124" align="center"><a" target="_blank"><img src="<% beacon %>" border="0"></a></td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td height="50" colspan="2"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> </table><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> <tr><br /> <td bgcolor="#AEB4A6"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /> </table><br /> </body><br /> </html><br /> </p> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article744 5 Wines for Prime Rib Ben Carter <p>If you&rsquo;re looking to roast a whole ribeye roast for the first time, check out this recipe:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong><a href="">Prime Rib with Horseradish Cream</a></strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> For a few years in the first decade of the 2000s, my buddy Paul and I often hosted dinner parties where the main course was a whole ribeye roast. &nbsp;I&rsquo;d take care of the appetizers, soup course, fish course, and wine pairings, and then would sit back while Paul took care of the beef. &nbsp;My timing was intentional, as all of my sauces and prep required a lot of work beforehand and by the fourth course of a major dinner party, I was ready to slump into my chair and enjoy eating.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It&rsquo;s a pretty simple dish to make and if you can catch it on sale, surprisingly affordable. &nbsp;You get the opportunity to feed 6-8 people decent sized slices of Prime Rib and the next day you can shave off thinner pieces for the greatest roast beef sandwiches you&rsquo;ll ever eat. &nbsp;Of course, a feast like this requires the right wines for the complete experience, and nothing is better than the perfectly aged 20 year old Burgundy that comes from a Domaine that no longer exists and can not be purchased anywhere. &nbsp;But in the real world, you need something you can actually purchase and enjoy with dinner. &nbsp;I&rsquo;ve got a range of selections for you to explore as you break out the roasting pan.<br /> </p> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article5588 Your Wine Drinking Soundtrack Claudia Angelillo <p>So much of your wine drinking experience relies on set and setting. Is the room tidy? Do you have the right glassware? What is the weather forecast? With whom are you drinking? And of course, what sort of music is playing? Allow us to assist you with the latter-most question. Here are our top five wine-themed songs for a guaranteed good wine-drinking time!<br /> </p> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article5576 Discover Syrah in Ballard Canyon Gregory Dal Piaz <p>One of Syrah&rsquo;s problem with consumers has always been the savory nature of the wine that is often coupled with some aggressive tannins. The solution to both issues, if and when they are viewed as problems, has been to get Syrah so ripe that it is all about fruit, has minimal tannins, and at the same time low acidity and no real complexity. As a variety Syrah is tough to farm precisely because of this. However in the right spots and with the right soils, and of course conscientious care in the vineyards it is possible to get Syrah that is full of fruit, with ripe tannins, and intact acidity that still displays the savory and sometimes peppery complexity that the grape is famous for. Ladies and gentlemen, that place is Ballard Canyon.&nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Located smack in the center of the Santa Ynez Valley, Ballard canyon is an AVA completely surround by the Santa Ynez AVA. One of the most recent AVAs, having achieved recognition only a year ago in October of 2013, Ballard Canyon is also on the most quickly developed AVAs. While blessed with a long history of farming and ranching, the first vineyards arrived in Ballard Canyon only in 1974 and significant planting in the region really didn&rsquo;t kick off until the 1990s. And yet here we are, just a few decades later not only celebrating the Ballard Canyon AVA, but recognizing that this is a special place, and in particular a special place for Syrah, though the tiny plantings of Grenache and Nebbiolo have also been pretty impressive.<br /> With only 18 producers and growers and under 600 acres, out of a potential of 7,700 within the AVA under vine, it might seem that we&rsquo;re making a mountain out of a molehill , but those molehills, the elevation here rises to about 1250, made of Interlacing layers of sand and chert, over a base of chalk and precious limestone have proven to be ideal for Syrah. The orientation of Ballard Canyon, running South to North as it does, not only offers protection from the coastal influence that has made much of the region ideal for Pinot Noir, but also affords hillside vineyard a direct view of the sun throughout the day.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> While the sun does bless Ballard Canyon with a more moderate and warmer climate than much of the region, the canyon allows for excellent heat drainage at night ensuring the great diurnal shift that is one of the key&rsquo;s to the region as a whole&rsquo;s succes. Sun, well drained soils, cool evening and added warmth late in the season allow growers to not only fully ripen their fruit, which is of course rarely a problem in california, but they can do it while retaining acidity in the fruit, and developing both ripe tannins in the skins and deep rich flavors.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Ballard Canyon Syrah is still learning what it wants to be when it grows up. The wines are already undoubtedly quite fine, and among the best of the variety, but the wines up to now have often been made with young vines and clones that may not have been ideally suited to their sites. That&rsquo;s the phase ballard Canyon already finds itself in. It&rsquo;s a phase of refinement that will certainly lead to wines with more finesse and complexity in the future, though this remains a region where capturing the power Syrah is capable of might always be the variety&#39;s ultimate expression.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> neither inexpensive nor easy drinking, these are wines that strive to make a name for themselves, and rightly so. With such limited vineyard acreage, and limited potential for adding more, both due to the small size of the AVA and regions water issues, Ballard Canyon Syrah will, for the foreseeable future, remain a bit of a rarity. A such it make sense for producers to continue to push the boundaries here, and challenge us with their unique expressions of Syrah. &nbsp;We should challenge them to keep going.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A few examples of Ballard Canyon Syrah will better help define the style of the wines, though as I have written I&rsquo;m not sure that the style has been fully defined. It&rsquo;s also worth noting that 2012 was a bit of a cooler vintage, and one that might appeal more to my palate than those of people more accustomed to richer vintages. 2010 was even cooler and longer, and again is my kind of vintage, which is reflected in my reviews of the following wines.</div><br /> <div><br /> [PAGEBREAK]</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Harrison Clark Syrah Cuv&eacute;e Charlotte Ballard Canyon $55&nbsp;</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Planted in 1999. 12 acres, planted to Syrah, grenache, and Mourvedre. First harvest of mourvedre this year. Northern end of the appellation at an altitude of 1000 feet. Comes from the ridges in the vineyards with shallowest soils and most limestone influence. All spontaneous fermentation.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Limestone gives great ripeness, helps hold the acidity, breezy late in the afternoon helps keep things cool after days that may reach the high nineties, overnight down to the fifties.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Effusive and bright on the floral nose rich with violets and roses and &nbsp;great detail coming from the gentle wood framing notes, blackberry and plummy fruit, and base of mineral and black pepper notes. Polished in the mouth with some early chocolatey notes but showing superb balance with a lovely early note of herbal spice followed by almost creamy black fruit, black berries and black spice flavors with a nice pop of boysenberry on the backend before this transitions to a spicy, slightly hot finish. Milk chocolate and hints of grilled meats add further complexity on the palate, and this shows great cut with pinpoint tannins driving the long finish.93pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Rusack Syrah Reserve Ballard Canyon $36&nbsp;</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Originally planted in 1970s then replanted in 2002 and 2003. Two different clones. Added three more since then, &nbsp; four different soil types with clones planted on specific soil types,not simply in blocks</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Sweetly smoky and toasty on the nose with lots of wood spice and plummy fruit. there&rsquo;s a lovely texture in the mouth, bright and lacking the weight of many of these wines, with tannins that are refined and the acids do a lot of the heavy lifting here. The flavors are pure and delicate with great definition to the cherry skin, plum skin, and smoky notes. Good length and definition on the long finish which shows a bit of heat ntwo. Just a lovely wine in the style, bright juicy fruit, more red toned than many of these wines and showing compelling freshness. 92pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Larner Syrah Estate Ballard Canyon $38&nbsp;</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> 11 clones of syrah on the estate, with a big contract operation with lots of custom crushing, also very sandy soils which lend a structure and strength to the wine</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> For this wine seven different clones were fermented individually</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Fairly oaky on the nose with some older wood notes, baking spice, a bit of stewy plum fruit, licorice and black tea. Smooth and elegant with lovely brightness on the palate and a fine blend of fruit and savory character. With dark wild berry fruits on entry followed by leathery, dried meat notes this is detailed and possesses a sense of delicacy even with its medium plus weight on the palate. A nice hit of cherry fruit on the backplate is lively and bright with tannins that remain firm if well covered by fruit that lingers on the finish with baked fruit notes and wild red cherries.. Elegant with a hint of VA adding detail on the finish. 92pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Stolpman Syrah Originals $42&nbsp;</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> 92 acres of Syrah. Clones from Cornas and Cote Rotie are now in the vineyard but these original vines are moderately old vines, old for the region, 18-20 years old.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Deeply fruited with hints of vanilla stemmy hints, mineral base notes adding complexity to the core of fresh plummy and red tinged fruit. Velvety and dark on the palate with a bit of bitterness adding a nice accent to the nuanced and deep flavors on the palate which shows soil tones, red earth, a hint of red peppery spice and lovely warm dark berry fruit. Good length, with fine tannins lending nice spice and Lipton tea notes on the finale &nbsp;A bit gamy on the palate, with lots of detail, &nbsp;this is texturally very lively with fine minerality on the moderately long finish. 92pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Beckmann La Purisima Mtn Syrah Ballard Canyon $32&nbsp;</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> From a big vineyard, over 365 acres of which some 18 blocks planted to 8 clones of Syrah, at &nbsp;a variety of elevations between 700 and 1200 feet, this comes from the entire range of Syrah plots within the vineyard. The very top third up to about 1200 feet has very little topsoil, vines growing instead almost directly in the chalky limestone substrata. As you move lower there is more covering soil. The limestone soil helps the region act more like a colder region. farmed biodynamically since 2006.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> High toned and black fruits with a thin cedar veneer and spicy black and green peppercorns layered over blackcurrant fruit with a top note of garrigue like herb &nbsp;Dry and &nbsp;bit leathery on entry, this is a large scaled with with integrated acids supporting dark plummy fruit that is very spicy and peppery on the palate, with lots of fine grained tannins and leathery, meaty flavors on the backend through the long, slightly hot and jammy blackberry toned finish. The tannins here offer good contrast to the richness of fruit here and accentuate the chocolatey overtones and hints of black tea on the long, slightly tacky finish. 91pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Kimsey Syrah Ballard Canyon $60&nbsp;</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> From vineyards located in the southwest corner of the appellation, a little bit colder, own rooted high density 2900 per acre. Low trellised fruit zone close to the ground, big canopy</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Grilled meats, sour plum and pepper knit together with old wood smokiness emerge on the nose which starts out tight and small, then turns very aromatic with a decidedly savory character of mineral, dried meats and black pepper. &nbsp;Bright with ripe tannins and fine supporting acids in the mouth, &nbsp;this shows some warm climate texture, but cool if rich flavors. Powerful and savory with some stemmy tannins on the short finish, this is a tight wine with great raw materials. 90pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Jonata Syrah Sangre de Jonata $125</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> All sand soils</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Oily and seedy on the nose with fine briary accent notes. More in the strawberry end of the spectrum with asphalt and poppy seed base notes and hints of gamy hung meat. Big and dense in the mouth, chewy on the palate and packed with dry matter. There&#39;s a nice, mineral note here on the &nbsp;midpalate with tannins that close down the finish and coat the mouth and acids that manage to keep this fresh though it remains chewy and dense. The nose is more attractive than the palate with its hints of apricot, black spices, and violets. Too much power for me at this point in its evolution, though it is promising in the style. 90pts</div><br /> </p> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article5584 Italian Values: We Ask The Experts! <p>With yesterday&rsquo;s rundown of the great Southern Italian Red values from GDP fresh on our mind we went ahead and asked the blogosphere for additional suggests for great values from Italy. Considering the country is almost blanketed with vineyards it&rsquo;s no surprise that we received a wonderful variety of recommendations,ironically none from Southern Italy.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> That&rsquo;s the beauty of bringing together so many voices. A near endless diversity of opinion and wines to try! And when it comes to the bottomless well of Italian wines that just won&rsquo;t stop giving, a few recommendations go a long way towards identifying some of the best values on earth! Just read on and see for yourself.<br /> </p> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article5582 Unusual Wine Bar Offerings Hana Choi <p>If you&rsquo;ve been to a few wine bars, you&rsquo;ve probably come to expect certain regulars on the food menu: assorted salumi and marinated olives; the requisite cheese plate; a selection of flat breads or crostini; maybe a p&acirc;t&eacute; or two.&nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> While these are usually solid, reliably complementary choices to the wines on hand, it&rsquo;s nice to mix things up once in a while and explore the more unexpected &ndash; yet equally delicious &ndash; eats that accompany your wine. We&rsquo;ve come up with a list of of some creative wine bars across the country taking their food menus off-road. Check out some of the offerings and be sure to share your local favorites with us below!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Photo courtesy: <a href="" style="color: #41682d;" target="_blank">scaredy_kat</a> via Flickr/CC</em><br /> </p> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article2313