Snooth - Articles Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Wed, 29 Mar 2017 19:08:51 -0400 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 19:08:51 -0400 Snooth Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p>JARDESCA ($30): is an interesting hybrid product from Sonoma County California. It starts out as a blend of 3 different white wines that are then fortified with 10 different botanicals. So it&rsquo;s a wine at its core but reminds me of a spirit in its soul. Most importantly it&rsquo;s versatile and delicious. Sipped on its own over ice JARDESCA is hugely aromatic. Aromas of white melon are joined by lots of herb notes. The palate has an inherent fruitiness to it that is buttressed by spice and herb. The long finish is clean, crisp, and refreshing. My knee jerk reaction was to return to the glass for one sip after another.<br /> However where it really excels is as a blending component. The refreshing nature of JARDESCA makes it a really good and fun choice for a welcome beverage when you have friends over. Mix up a batch of something that appeals and serve it to friends and family as they walk in. I experimented with several options from the JARDESCA website, and found a lot of tasty options. The simplicity of the Strawberry Spritz was my favorite. The strawberry and mint additions scream Spring weather. The three founders of JARDESCA, whose backgrounds are in entertaining, food, and spirits, aimed specifically to create something that would serve as a refreshing first drink; the nailed it. Give it a shot!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Strawberry Spritz</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> 3 parts JARDESCA over ice in a stemless wine or rocks glass<br /><br /> 1 part Prosecco<br /><br /> 2-3 slices of strawberry<br /><br /> A bruised mint leaf<br /><br /> Combine all the ingredients and stir</p> Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6914 Why Riesling is a Zeitgeist Wine Mark Angelillo <p>Riesling could be eclipsing Chardonnay as a go-to white wine grape for wine drinkers. My definition of wine drinkers here includes folks who don&rsquo;t drink wine on a regular basis, but know a few grapes by name when ordering at a restaurant or picking up a bottle for a special occasion. This says a whole lot about Riesling. Many perfectly fine indigenous varietal wines would love to join the American wine drinker&rsquo;s lexicon, and so many of them should. The success of Riesling proves that it&rsquo;s still possible to get some runs on the board even though we&rsquo;ve been at this game for a very long time.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I&rsquo;ve chosen to focus on Riesling from three key areas. I haven&rsquo;t covered all areas where Riesling is cultivated, not by a long shot, but these selections represent the grape in a few different contexts which I think are important.<br /> One of the reasons why Riesling attracts such a broad audience is its ability to manifest in very dry, to off dry, to sweet forms. You can usually find an indication of sweetness on the bottle. If you can&rsquo;t, a helpful rule of thumb is hidden in the alcohol percentage. A sweeter wine may have a lower alcohol percentage (8% to 9%), while a drier style of Riesling will come in a bit higher &ndash; as much as 13%.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Riesling is an incredibly tough yet impressionable grape. Its wood is strong enough to withstand extreme cold. It&#39;s also highly sensitive to terroir, so sensitive that Riesling grapes grown within the same general area can produce completely different wines. This is the major reason why tasting Riesling from several different areas of the world is a fascinating and educational exercise. A geographically diverse flight of Riesling will prove to any disbeliever that terroir is a very real thing.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Germany</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Most of us freely associate Riesling with Germany. Riesling is one of Germany&rsquo;s oldest indigenous grapes. DNA tests show that Riesling is the child of Gouais Blanc, a prolific white grape of Eastern European origin. These days it&rsquo;s very hard to find varietal Gouais Blanc, but its legacy continues on with the rise of Riesling. Novice Riesling drinkers may want to start with a few German selections. Don&rsquo;t let the labels stump you. While they may look confusing at first glance, the rules around German wine labels are among the most coherent and strict in the world. The layers of designation are incredibly specific, down to the last vineyard row. When you put the energy into decoding a German wine label you are rewarded with a great deal of information about the wine in your bottle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>A few to try:</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>50&deg; Riesling Rheingau 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Beeswax, honey and melon on the nose with touches of petrol and lemon zest. Full on acidity on the palate with tart lemon, peach and apricot fruit, a warming spice throughout and some grassiness and a hint of grapefruit towards the finish. Easy drinking and lively.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Sektkellerei Fitz KG Riesling Sekt Bad Durkheim Pfalz NV</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This brings classic Riesling phenolics and lemon aromas on the nose. Full bodied and pure fruited with green apple and pear behind tart lemon and a wooded finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Weingut Kruger-Rumpf Riesling Trocken Nahe 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Floral lemon balm, wild blossom and honeysuckle aromas with green apple and light restrained petrol set against wet stone. Tart and zesty in the mouth with notes of pear, green apple, and citrus, loads of acidity and minerality and a clean lightly buttered finish.<br /><br /> 90pts<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Urban Riesling Mosel 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Lemon, sage leaf and green apple with honeysuckle and peach as well on the nose. This is classic and delightful, bursting with acidity to combat the soft sweetness on the palate, with fruit flavors of green apple, peach, lemon, tangerine and a clean, fresh zesty finish.<br /><br /> 90 pts<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Schloss Vollrads Estate Riesling Kabinett Rheingau 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Warm and fresh, floral and fruity aromas of apricot, green apple, rose petals and that classic Riesling petrol on the nose. Clean, zesty and approachable on the palate, this delivers a full acidity alongside lemon and grapefruit citrus notes that melt into the long finish where a creamy lemon pith mingles with a hint of pineapple and tangerine.<br /><br /> 91 pts<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Finger Lakes</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Grapes have been grown in this glacial pocket of upstate New York since the 1850s. Lake Ontario and its surrounding fingers &ndash; Lakes Seneca, Cayuga, and Keuka &ndash; insulate vineyard areas from the extremes of winter and summer. This region lives with the threat of frozen vines, so an early ripening grape variety like Riesling is a natural choice. Nearby Cornell University has a fantastic winemaking program, so you&rsquo;ll see a lot of top-notch graduates setting up shop in the region. Historically, Finger Lakes Riesling tends to be off-dry or sweet. That&#39;s starting to change as more winemakers are putting sweat into achieving drier bottles. The drier wines really let the terroir of this region shine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>A few to try:</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Damiani Wine Cellars Riesling Semi-Dry Finger Lakes 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Clean clear and concentrated apple and pear aromas with beautiful spice. A truly well balanced wine on the palate, this has a zesty acidity, fresh peach and apple notes and a touch of sweetness and comes with a creamy mouthfeel and some oak spice towards the finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Fulkerson Estate Juicy Sweet Riesling Finger Lakes 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Minerally melon and lemon drop aromas. A bit thin on entry with sweet apple and peach flavors - off dry and soft.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Lamoreaux Landing Riesling Ice Finger Lakes 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Lightly savory aromas of concentrated honey and orange blossom. Focused, juicy and sweet on the palate with thick creamy mouthfeel and bright fruit notes of ripe apple, honeyed pear and clementine juice, this is pleasant and sweet.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>McGregor Vineyard Semi-Dry Riesling Finger Lakes 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Light floral aromas. A nicely zesty acidity comes out of the glass and mixes with minerality and a stony, steely finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Oregon</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> There&rsquo;s more to Oregon than Pinot Noir. In fact there was a time when Oregon produced more Riesling than Pinot Noir, but consumer demand for the latter prevailed. Fortunately there has been a renewed interest in Riesling among the mostly family-owned wineries in Oregon. Riesling wines from Oregon rank high in aromatics with above average fruit on the palate. There has been a real effort by Oregon winegrowers over the last few years to establish Riesling as a key varietal. It&rsquo;s working.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>A few to try:</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Anne Amie Estate Dry Riesling Yamhill-Carlton 2013</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Floral petrol aromas with an undernote of baked green apple, honey and tart lime zest. In the mouth this is expressive with notes of elderflower, lemon and more petrol, fresh and fruity but displaying a creamy nutty finish that carries some peach and tropical fruit.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Trisaetum Vineyards Coast Range Estate Dry Riesling Yamhill-Carlton 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Mineral salinity, peach fruit and lemon zest bloom on the nose. This is gorgeous and elegant in the mouth, perfectly walking the line between Riesling sweetness, floral aromatics, minerality and refreshing acidity. It also brings a palate of fruit flavors - peach, mango, lemon and grapefruit, with a finish that&#39;s creamy and delicate with great length.<br /><br /> 93 pts<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Elk Cove Vineyards Estate Riesling Willamette Valley 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Lemon and petrol on the nose with soft wildflower notes and some tangerine. More citrus and petrol notes on the palate, good acidity, some sweet spice and ripe melon notestowards the finish, and a creamy texture throughout.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Brooks Riesling Willamette Valley 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> One of the reasons why Riesling attracts such a broad audience is its ability to manifest in very dry, to off dry, to sweet forms. You can usually find an indication of sweetness of the bottle. If you can&rsquo;t, just take a look at the alcohol percentage. A lower alcohol wine will have a lower alcohol percentage (8% to 9%), while a drier style of Riesling will come in as high as twelve percent.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Riesling is an incredibly impressionable grape. It is so highly sensitive to terroir that grapes grown within the same general area can produce completely different wines. This is a major reason to try a Riesling from several different areas of the world.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Lush and plump apricot and green apple aromas with floral hints and gentle oily Riesling aromatics. Freshly acidic on the palate, almost surprisingly so on entry with peach pear and mango fruit playing through the mid palate with lemon zest and a candied character towards the slightly nutty finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Brooks Riesling Bois Joli Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Lightly savory aromas with light lemon fruit and a mineral edge. Presents a smooth and elegant off-dry palate of sweet spice and tangerine notes, a burst of acidity through the full bodied mid palate that leaves a tingling sensation behind with melon and papaya notes and a creamy memory.<br /><br /> 91 pts</p> Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6916 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p>Virgil Kaine &ndash; Robber Baron Rye Whiskey ($40): Boutique Whiskey brands are popping up all over the world. The United States is emblematic of that with Distilleries being built in way too many states to mention. One of those brands is Virgil Kaine founded by Southern Chefs Ryan Meany and David Szlam. Their list of combined credits includes work at Husk in Charleston and Alice Waters famed Chez Panisse. They set out with a goal of creating a delicious Whiskey by following the same palates that led to their accomplishments on the culinary side.<br /> Virgil Kaine Robber Barron Rye Whiskey was produced from a blend of 96% Rye Whiskey and 4% Bourbon. Toasted macadamia nuts, vanilla and bits of brown sugar inform the nose. Toasty oak notes, hints of yeast, and dates are evident on the palate. The long finish is spicy; white pepper notes are of particular prominence. A final dollop of heat closes it out. This is most definitely a Rye Whiskey, but mellower and more approachable than most.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I enjoyed this Rye sipped neat with just a drop of water in it. After that I tried a few of the recipes from their website. The one that I ended up making several times is this. However you enjoy it this is a tasty and fairly priced Whiskey to add to your bar.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>The Blinker</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> 1 &frac12; oz. Virgil Kaine Robber Baron Rye Whiskey<br /><br /> &frac12; oz fresh grapefruit juice<br /><br /> 1 Tbsp Raspberry syrup<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker half-filled with cracked ice, shake well and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a twist of Grapefruit rind.</p> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6910 Bordeaux or Bust! John Downes <p>With springtime upon us, wine enthusiasts around the world are looking to squeeze a French vineyard into their European holiday. &ldquo;Is it possible to catch the spirit of Bordeaux in a couple of days?&rdquo; With careful planning the answer&rsquo;s &ldquo;yes&rdquo;.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I accompanied twelve CEO&rsquo;s on a corporate two day &lsquo;jolly&rsquo;, sorry &lsquo;educational visit&rsquo; to the vineyards of Bordeaux last summer. The Bordelais have a reputation for not being visitor friendly but that was completely busted as they opened their doors and their bottles with a broad smile.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> We were on the early bird 6:45am flight from London Gatwick (ouchhh) but it was worth it as we were on the magnificent lawns of Chateau Palmer near the &lsquo;left bank&rsquo; village of Margaux, a stone&rsquo;s throw from the Gironde river by 10:30amm (and we lost the hour!) Our private visit of the cellars ended with a super tasting; second label Alter Ego 2011 (&pound;56, $75) was followed by Chateau Palmer 2006 and 2007. The 2006, made from Cabernet Sauvignon (66%) and Merlot (34%) with its dense blackberry, friendly fine grained tannins and lingering finish topped my list; that&rsquo;s if you have a spare &pound;175 ($220). &ldquo;Left Bank?&rdquo;, I hear you say. For once wine trade lingo is useful; guess what, the Left Bank vineyards are on your left hand side as you sail up river towards the Atlantic. <br /> We then drove north to the village of Pauillac through rolling gravel-soil vineyards, before sweeping into the impressive, towered chateau that is Pichon Baron. We were greeted with a comprehensive, nay privileged, tasting in their &lsquo;Hollywood&rsquo; cellars including 2012 and 2011 (cooler years) and 2010 and 2009 (sunny years and two of the best Bordeaux vintages). My best wine? The 2010 with its ripe fruit balanced with a lovely crisp tannic. But then again, at &pound;100 ($130) plus you need deep pockets.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> After a brilliant lunch at Pichon Baron (more fantastic wine!) we didn&rsquo;t really need a slap up dinner but as dusk fell we entered one of Rick Stein&rsquo;s favourite restaurants, La Tupina, overlooking the River Garonne in the heart of Bordeaux. The wine list was reasonably priced and a few bottles of Chateau La Garde (&pound;30, $40) from the Pessac-Leognan vineyards south of the city were well received with Tupina&rsquo;s signature meat dishes.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The next morning saw us on Bordeaux&rsquo;s &lsquo;Right Bank&rsquo;, an easy 45 minute drive from our city centre hotel. We arrived early to stroll around the world famous Petrus vineyards, hallowed ground indeed as these blue clay vineyards in the heart of the Pomerol plateau produce bottles with &pound;1000 ($1300) price tags!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Spot on time (luxury coach, great coach driver!) we walked up the gravel drive of Pomerol&rsquo;s Vieux Chateau Certan, another highlight for the excited group. Following a tour of the vineyards with the winemaker, the lofty barrel filled cellar was the venue for an exceptional tasting. The first glass, a barrel sample of 2015 brought applause all round, (my notes were ripe, silky, balanced, long), even though it probably had another 12 months to sleep in the barrels. The team had picked up the softer &lsquo;Right Bank&rsquo; style, thanks to the higher proportion of Merlot (80%) in the blend. The other grapes in the 2015 were Cabernet Franc (19%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (1%) by the way. Other vintages tasted meant VCC, little known before, is now gracing a few more south of England cellars.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> We then drove the short distance to Pomerol&rsquo;s world famous Le Pin vineyard; at over 500 Euro a bottle at the cellar (but not for sale!) the accountants in the group were quickly sharpening their pencils to calculate the annual balance sheets before realising that the production was exceptional but tiny.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Lunch beckoned but first one more private visit and tasting at St. Emilion&rsquo;s Premier Grand Cru Classe Chateau Troplong-Mondot. Our lunch at Troplong-Mondot was superb which was no surprise as the restaurant boasts one Michelin Star. As we&rsquo;d been drinking Bordeaux for two days we rang the changes with lunch; Puligny-Montrachet, Burgundy&rsquo;s famous white (100% Chardonnay) was followed by Hermitage, the famous Syrah (100%) wine from the northern Rhone. Oh, and a glass of Champagne of course!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> A few beers in St. Emilion&rsquo;s famous cobbled town square followed by a splendid dinner and we were on our way to the airport&hellip;we were on the last flight out reflecting on two amazing days getting to know one of the world&rsquo;s most famous wine regions&hellip;. intimately!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 350 Masters of Wine in the world is a corporate entertainer speaker, television and radio broadcaster and writer on wine. Check out John&rsquo;s website at&nbsp; <a href=""><strong></strong></a>. Follow him on Twitter <a href=""><strong>@JOHNDOWNESMW</strong></a></em></p> Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6912 Ask the Winemaker: La Crema’s Craig McAllister Mark Angelillo <p>I recently had the chance to speak with Craig McAllister, La Crema Winery&rsquo;s new head winemaker. He took the reins this past January. La Crema wines are much-loved by millions of wine drinkers in the United States for their artisan yet approachable bent. Here are some key notes from my chat with Craig.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>On becoming a winemaker</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Craig had a bit of a late start. He was working in resort hotels in New Zealand and started to lose interest. One day he opened the newspaper and found an advert for Lincoln University&rsquo;s new viticultural program. He&rsquo;d always had an interest in wine, but it was from this moment that he made the decision to join the wine industry. He graduated in 2004 and worked in Australia&rsquo;s Hunter Valley for a few years. By 2007 he&rsquo;d made his way over to California. After a few successful harvests in the States he spent some time making wine in Chile and Cypus. By 2009 he was ready to come back to California where he found a permanent home with La Crema.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>On climate</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Craig has worked in a lot of different climates &ndash; from New Zealand to Cyprus. While the relationship between wine and climate is well-established, only winemakers like Craig can comprehend these differences in a very real way. A bad year in New Zealand means you have to say goodbye to nearly the whole harvest, says Craig. But when it comes to California, even a &ldquo;bad year&rdquo; makes a pretty good wine. The true differences in California, he says, come down to the vineyard sites.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>On the La Crema portfolio</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> La Crema has carefully selected a number of optimum vineyard sites since the label began in 1979. They are a pioneer in cooler climate California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. More recently La Crema has helped bring Monterey front and center. Craig calls the area a &ldquo;sleeping giant&rdquo; with overwhelming potential. Plans to build out La Crema&rsquo;s Monterey portfolio are in the works. The label&#39;s first Monterey ros&eacute; was released just this year. Craig says that Monterey&rsquo;s defining feature is the wind from the Monterey Bay to the north and west. These cold rushes of wind and fog contribute to a longer growing season and later harvest than more northern areas of California.<br /> <strong>A few of my favorites</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>La Crema Pinot Gris Monterey 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Pencil lead, soft clay and floral blossom aromas with pleasant peach, red apple and apricot fruit. This has good acidity throughout, lifting the palate with fruit notes of peach, pear and apple and a warm earthy and creamy finish. Crisp and clean.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>La Crema Chardonnay Monterey 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Decadent buttered popcorn and rich vanilla aromas with oak toasting and an apple lemon fruit underneath. Thick and unctuous on the palate with more strong vanilla bean and baked apple, stone fruit and spice and a bit of a mineral lift on the finish blowing towards a cool breezy pear and wildflower coda.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>La Crema Pinot Noir Monterey 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Tarry cherry with mineral earth and full bramble aromas. A sweet spice greets the palate with blueberry and black cherry fruit, an earthy moist soil and forest floor character through the midpalate and a bit of an herbed finish that&#39;s as much dark cacao as it is mixed berry fruit.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>La Crema Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Cool, clean and lightly oaked aromas with a green apple and lemon fruit. Smooth, soft and pleasant palate with clean and clear apple and kiwi notes, some oat straw around the edges and a lively oak spice on the finish, a bit of an herbal top note and a nice earthy roundness towards the finish.<br /><br /> 90 pts<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Blueberry and black cherry aromas with floral violet and pleasant spice notes. In the mouth this is restrained but confident showing earth and spice on entry, a tart focused black cherry and mixed berry fruit on the mid palate and some herbal licorice notes towards the finish, supported by chewy tannins throughout.</p> Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6913 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p>Glenmorangie Bacalta Single Malt Scotch Private Edition ($99.99): <em>Baked Malmsey Madeira Casks. </em>Over recent years Glenmorangie has been releasing Private Editions of select Single Malts. Bacalta is in fact the 8th annual edition in this range.&nbsp; The work to create this Whisky goes back many years. Dr Bill Lumsden who is Glenmorangie&rsquo;s Director of Distilling had American Oak casks created to his precise specifications, including the precise toast level. After preparation they were filled with specially chosen Malmsey Madeira and aged in the sun for two years as per his instructions. The casks were then emptied and shipped to Scotland where they were filled with select Glenmorangie Scotch that had been aging in Ex-Bourbon Barrels to that point.<br /><br /> <br /> This limited edition Single Malt from Glenmorangie has apricot and bits of yeast on the nose. Toasted pecan, tangerine zest, dates, and a hint of chicory are all evident on the layered palate. The long, persistent finish shows hints of heat, candied orange rind, mesquite honey and a bit of bitter chocolate. For a distillery that already features a host of Single Malt&rsquo;s finished in a 2nd set of casks it&rsquo;s impressive that they&rsquo;ve created an expression that is wholly unique from the others. That said the Glenmorangie fingerprint of style, grace and proportion which embodies their portfolio remains intact.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> If your taste in Single Malt Scotch runs to expressions of this style with a specific cask finish on them, Glenmorangie should be on your short list of producers to drink on the regular. Their work in this area is both phenomenal and industry leading. Bacalta the latest entry only enhances the reputation of their portfolio. If for some reason you&rsquo;re not yet familiar with the Glenmorangie range, Bacalta is a delicious place to jump in.</p> Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6909 The Wine Industry Needs More Email Mark Angelillo <p>There is no denying that in today&rsquo;s wine marketing landscape social media presence is a box that needs to be checked. While social media is the face you present to the world, it&rsquo;s not a dedicated revenue generating activity. In fact you most likely will generate very little revenue from it, comparatively speaking. To generate revenue you need a captive audience. The potential customer needs to be solely focused on your message for an extended period of time. A study funded by the Microsoft Corporation showed that the average attention span dropped from twelve seconds in 2000 to eight seconds in 2015. The lesson here is that we must maximize every second we can get in an environment filled with constantly scrolling shiny objects. Social media puts you on stage with many different competing characters, but when it comes to email, you are the star soloist. It is true that email has become an incredibly competitive space over the past decade. It&rsquo;s hard to remember a time before spam filters and the &ldquo;Promotions&rdquo;&nbsp; tab. Regardless, email can provide more bang for your buck &ndash; and more bucks for your bang.<br /> Here are five tips on how to use an email list to your advantage.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>1. Grow that list.</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Yes, it&rsquo;s a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people forget to grow their email lists. It&rsquo;s a rather tedious task that gets pushed off in favor of more immediate projects. But it is so important and requires constant attention and maintenance. Take every opportunity to capture an email address whenever and wherever you can. Make sure the email address is recorded correctly. Capture the email addresses of those who visit you, wherever you are &ndash; from the web to a winery. Offer incentives for shared email addresses. For example, if you&rsquo;ve got a tasting room, give a bonus pour of something extra special in exchange for an active email address. These days, that email address is far more powerful than a phone number.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2. Establish a regular pattern of contact.</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> I once had a colleague who wore suspenders every Thursday.&nbsp; It was a curious quirk appreciated by everyone in the office. According to him, he wore suspenders every Thursday without fail to &ldquo;make people know that I&rsquo;m dependable.&rdquo; This story applies to email too: Timed communications that arrive at specific intervals build trust between you and your audience. The audience will know what to expect from you and when they can expect it. As a result, the audience is more likely to believe in what you have to say.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>3. Provide them with value.</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> While you should be writing to your audience at regular intervals, make sure you have something meaningful to say that will enrich the lives of your readers. Think about what kind of content you are going to provide. Maybe it&rsquo;s a recipe, a pairing, a thoughtful quote or a fun fact. Don&rsquo;t communicate for the sake of communicating. Make it count. If the content lacks utility, is boring or irrelevant, the audience will stop reading your messages altogether. And while you won&rsquo;t please everyone with your content, you sure can try.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>4. Give them an out.</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Don&rsquo;t hold your audience hostage. Make sure there&#39;s a quick and simple way to unsubscribe from your list. Drawing out the process or making it difficult will leave the person with a bad taste for your brand. And don&rsquo;t take it personally &ndash; most of us have gone on unsubscribe sprees at some point in the past. The most popular time to unsubscribe from a list is January, so think extra hard about the content you provide (or don&rsquo;t provide) around this time.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>5. Know your Call-to-Action (CTA)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> What do you want your audience to do? How do you want them to interact with your brand? Say it loud and proud. If you don&rsquo;t ask, you&rsquo;ll never receive. Perhaps you want the audience to click through to your site. Maybe you want them to stay right where they are and enjoy your branded images and content. Of course you may also want them to buy something. No matter what it is, make sure your CTA is something on which one can easily act.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Have more questions about building your email list? Snooth can help. Our co-registration program has helped build large email lists for a number of wine brands and regions. <a href=""><strong>Click here to request information</strong></a>.</em></p> Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article6911 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p>Kirk and Sweeney 23 Year Rum ($59): Rum comes in all sorts of shades and styles. Some are clear, others gold and some darker in color. Most think of Rum as a cocktail component, something its quite good at. Be it classics like mojito&rsquo;s and rum and coke or less traditional drinks there&rsquo;s a lot you can do with Rum. Personally my favorite thing to do with Rum is sip it neat. A lot of the Rum that you&rsquo;d find on your local shelf isn&rsquo;t meant to be sipped neat; they&rsquo;re in the previously mentioned blending category. But the uptick in popularity for sipping Rum means that they&rsquo;re getting a bit more shelf space these days. And well they should as the flavor profile of Rum, while having a pretty broad spectrum, is different than any other spirit out there. When they&rsquo;re produced with care, in an honest manner and aged appropriately they can have the structure and depth of fine Scotch. You can also get a lot more Rum for your money than you can with high end Scotches of comparable quality. Kirk and Sweeney a producer of Dominican Rum has been on my radar for some time, but I just sampled their 23 Year old offering for the first time.<br /> Kirky and Sweeny 23 was produced entirely from hand harvested sugar cane. Its byproduct, blackstrap molasses was fermented and distilled. Aging occurred in American oak barrels for twenty three years. Aromas of grated dark chocolate, toasted hazelnut and date are evident. Dry mission fig, bits of brown sugar, white pepper and continued wisps of hazelnut are present. Another bit of dusty dark chocolate is evident on the long finish. This is an exceptional sipper from the dryer side of the rum spectrum. Kirk and Sweeny 23 has depth, character, length and not a hint of burn on the finish. All of those things make it a pleasure to contemplate and keep on sipping over a long night.</p> Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article6908 This premium Cabernet category should be on your radar Michelle Williams <p>No doubt when Spanish conquistador Pedro Gutierrez de Valdivia founded the city of Santiago in 1541, he was not thinking of viticulture. However, today the Maipo and Colchagua Valleys produce some of the finest Bordeaux influenced wines in the world. Chile gained its independence from Spain in the early 1800&rsquo;s, by mid-century the Chilean economy was booming due to mining, and wealthy Chileans began traveling back and forth to Europe. These travels expanded Chileans taste for French food and wine. Prior to the phylloxera outbreak of 1855, Chileans began importing French vines from Bordeaux to grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec. The success of these vines put Maipo Valley on the world&rsquo;s wine radar, resulting in Chile being known as the &ldquo;Bordeaux of South America.&rdquo;<br /> Maipo Valley takes the lead in producing high quality Bordeaux style wines. Maipo experiences an ideal Mediterranean climate, similar to Napa Valley, with hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters, and both regions struggle to meet their vineyard irrigation needs. Maipo, like Napa Valley, offers ideal growing conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, both of which are used in Bordeaux style blends. Within the northern area of Maipo Valley lies Alto Maipo, containing Puente Alto, also known as the Pauillac of Chile. Pauillac arguably contains the best terroir in Bordeaux, and certainly the best in the Medoc. Three of the top five first growth Premier Cru ch&acirc;teaux (Ch&acirc;teau Latour, Ch&acirc;teau Lafite Rothschild, and Ch&acirc;teau Mouton Rothschild) are located in Pauillac. Similarly, Puente Alto is considered the best growing region for Cabernet Sauvignon in Chile, with three of the top producers located here. The vineyards range in elevation between 1,200 to 2,500 feet. These hillside vineyards receive ideal sun exposure and grow in mineral rich, rocky alluvial soil allowing for proper drainage.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Located slightly south of Maipo Valley lies Colchagua Valley. Colchagua experiences the same Mediterranean climate as Maipo with some variations. According to Aurelio Montes Sr, Colchagua Valley receives &ldquo;morning fog, winter rain (double of Maipo) but no rain in the summer, and cooler temperatures.&rdquo; Irrigation is also an issue in Colchagua resulting in some wineries, such as Montes, practice dry farming the vineyards. Aurelio Montes Jr describes Colchagua Valley as &ldquo;one of the most privileged valleys in Chile and in the world to produce Cabernet Sauvignon. It&rsquo;s is a very diverse area where you can find many different terroirs, altitudes and the coastal influence of the Pacific Ocean which produces many different styles of Cabernet. And the good news is that all of them have an exceptional quality.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Wine journalist Amanda Barnes, a specialist in the region, adds further insight into Maipo and Colchagua Valleys:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;Colchagua and Maipo share many characteristics - both are in the warmer central valleys of Chile and can have a mountain influence in vineyards closer to the Andes. Colchagua can also have a coastal influence in certain regions, but most of the Cabernet comes from the warmer spots further inland. There is a lot of diversity within the wine regions, but if we take two of the most acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon micro regions from each region - Apalta in Colchagua and Puente Alto in Maipo - we can draw some stylistic comparisons. Apalta Colchagua Cabernet tends to have red and black fruits like black cherries, plums and blackberries with a round and full body, sweet tannins and a warm tobacco note. Puente Alto has gravel soils which naturally lower the vigor of the vines making rich, concentrated grapes. Puente Alto Maipo Cabernet almost always has bright cassis aromas with a herbal note and expressions of graphite and licorice, the tannins are more defined, but elegant, and there is a more marked acidity. You&rsquo;ll also find the vintage has a bigger impact in Maipo Cabernets whereas Colchagua tends to be a bit more consistent year on year.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Chile was geographically created to produce high quality wine. Its wine production regions are ideally located between 27 degrees and 40 degrees south. Furthermore, Chile is in many ways like an island because it is surrounded by natural boarders: Pacific Ocean to the west, Andes Mountains to the east, Atacama Desert to the north, and the glaciers of Patagonia to the south. These borders offered Chile natural protection from the phylloxera outbreak that spread across the globe in the 19th century. Because phylloxera has not affected Chilean vines many of the vines are 30+ years old and un-grafted. Some of the newer vines are being planted on grafted rootstock as a precaution for the future. This is confirmed by Michel Friou, winemaker of Almaviva, as he explains &ldquo;the older [Almaviva] vineyards planted in 1978 are un-grafted; however, the new vineyards planted in 2001 were grafted to avoid any problems with phylloxera in the future.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> If you are unfamiliar with Chilean Cabernet Sauvignons why should you forgo your next Napa Valley or Bordeaux purchase to opt for a Chilean Cabernet instead?&nbsp; Chile offers Cabernet Sauvignon at its best. It produces a luxurious Cabernet Sauvignon that is full bodied with rich yet supple tannins. Michel Friou explains the Chilean terroir &ldquo;helps the grapes reach their optimal ripeness without losing freshness. The wine combines complexity, opulence and freshness of fruit, with precision, finesse, purity and elegance. The quality of its tannins, smooth and silky, firm and present but always accessible, is probably its main distinctive mark.&rdquo; When asked about the lack of wine regulations in Chile, Aurelio Montes Sr replied, &ldquo;We want good wine not good laws. We (Chilean winemakers) are able to build the best wines&hellip;to suit the modern palate.&rdquo; Both men speak of the role of the winemaker in producing high quality Chilean wines. Montes Sr said, &ldquo;Chile is paradise to grow grapes. The soil is a perfect balance for Cabernet. Add the love of the winemaker and their skill to choose the right parcels and correct barrels&rdquo; and you have great wine. Montes Sr believes in a winemaking philosophy of the less intervention the better, let the terroir speak through the wine. Friou shared a similar sentiment, &ldquo;Although much is done in Chile to offer more diversity of varieties and new grape origins, the Cabernet Sauvignon is still the most widespread variety planted in Chile (around one-third), the most used and most well-known Chilean grape, successfully managed in the vineyard on appropriate soils and terroirs since a rather long time, the variety on which the Chilean winemakers have clearly the highest knowledge and experience, used on its own or harmoniously blended with other Bordeaux varieties to offer a perfect balance in mouth. A real and safe experience for Cabernet Sauvignon lovers!&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Here are six high quality Chilean Cabernet Sauvignons to begin your exploration.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Vi&ntilde;a Almaviva Puente Alto Chile</strong></a> ($140): This Bordeaux style blend was crafted of 65%&nbsp; , 24% Carmenere, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, and 1% Merlot; clear deep ruby; clean medium+ aromas of cherries, blackberries, cranberries, black raspberries, sweet spice notes, cocoa, fresh tobacco leaves, licorice, minerals, eucalyptus, damp underbrush, leather; dry medium+ acidity and tannins create a beautifully balanced wine with silky tannins after a two hour decant, loads of elegantly concentrated flavors wrap the palate in a full-body wine with a long spicy and toasted walnut finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Santa Rita Casa Real Maipo Valley Chile</strong></a> ($70): 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; clear deep ruby with garnet hues; clean medium+ aromas of cherries, blackberries, currants, plums, fresh violets, sweet spices, black pepper, eucalyptus, minerality, fresh tobacco; a beautifully balanced wine of medium+ acidity and tannins that offer a silky and elegant mouth-feel; full body and finish; though this wine is sophisticated it is still young; it will continue to evolve with proper cellaring for years.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Cousi&ntilde;o-Macul Lota Maipo Valley Chile</strong></a> ($85): 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot; clear deep garnet with ruby hues; clean medium+ aromas of ripe dark cherries, blackberries, black raspberries, currants, cassis, graphite, dried violets, green vegetal notes, sweet spice, licorice, dark cocoa; pronounced acidity, medium+ tannins that are dusty and create a warm mouth-feel, layers of flavors and textures continue to develop as wine opens, round and well-structured this full body wine offers a long, tart and earthy finish; incredible food wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2013 Concha Y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Chile</strong></a> ($125): 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc; clear medium+ garnet with ruby hues; clean pronounced aromas of cherries, blackberries, plums, sweet baking spices, herbaceous, white pepper, dark chocolate, cassis, roasted espresso beans, damp tobacco leaves, smoke, dusty earth and minerality; dry medium acidity and high tannins on the palate, concentrated with layers of flavors and texture that envelope the palate in pure pleasure, though tannins are high they are silky smooth and lush creating a full body wine with a long, dazzling finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Montes Alpha M Red Wine Colchagua Valley Chile</strong></a> ($98): 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot; clear deep ruby; clean medium aromas of bright red fruit and black fruit, dried savory herbs highlighted by eucalyptus, sweet spice, fresh tobacco, dried rose petals, smoke, red licorice, dusty earth; medium+ acidity, tannins, body, and finish; elegant and masculine, silky and round on the palate; well balanced and structured.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 VIK Millahue Apalta Colchagua Valley Chile</strong></a> ($140): 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Carmenere, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot, and 4% Syrah; clear deep garnet with ruby hues; clean medium+ aromas of cherries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, sweet spice, dark chocolate, dried tobacco, black pepper, dried red floral notes; bold and juicy on the palate, a modern style wine that is well-structured with balanced medium+ aromas and tannins that feel like crushed velvet on the palate; full-bodied with loads of flavor and a long pleasing juicy finish; a real crowd pleaser.</p> Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article6907 Aromatic Whites are New Zealand’s Secret Star Gabe Sasso <p>When you spend more than two weeks in a place you soak in a lot about it. Taste all the wine you want at home, but there&rsquo;s simply no substitute for standing in the dirt where the wine is grown or for tasting it alongside those who shepherd it into existence. These things are certainly true of a recent trip I took to New Zealand, which saw me crisscrossing the country and spending time on the ground in several regions. What surprised me most of all about my time there is probably what will surprise most wine lovers. We&rsquo;ve known about New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc for a long time. The Pinot Noir has earned a reputation over the last decade as well. But what wasn&rsquo;t obvious to me until I got to New Zealand was the dizzying array of top shelf aromatic whites.<br /> Whether your interests fall to Riesling, Viognier, Gew&uuml;rztraminer, Pinot Gris, Albari&ntilde;o, or even Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner, there are well-made examples to be had. Upon arriving in New Zealand I attended an Aromatics Symposium. I was duly impressed with numerous wines I sampled, but that was just the beginning. As I travelled the country over two and a half weeks I came across other terrific aromatics all over New Zealand. In warm, secluded Gisborne I had the opportunity to taste with Nick Nobilo and James Millton among others. Nobilo is incredibly dedicated to one variety, Gew&uuml;rztraminer. Millton is leading the charge in biodynamic farming and producing reference quality Chenin Blanc and Viognier to name but two. In Marlborough Astrolabe&rsquo;s Simon Waghorn is impressing with Pinot Gris, Albari&ntilde;o, and more. Central Otago is certainly best known for Pinot Noir but they also have folks like Duncan Forsyth at Mt. Edward who is producing remarkable Riesling.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The overall scope of New Zealand wine abounds with a diversity of flavors and styles. When you visit and experience the varying soil types, landscapes and climatic conditions it becomes apparent why they can successfully grow such a myriad of different grapes. There&rsquo;s more than enough excellent Sauvignon Blanc to quench the world&rsquo;s thirst, plenty of Pinot Noir to share and an awful lot of hearty reds comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah worth noting. But if you make the mistake of overlooking the aromatic white wines you&rsquo;d be missing out on a category that New Zealand is nailing in regions throughout this diverse country. They&rsquo;re under the radar now, but they won&rsquo;t be forever. Here are some wines to seek out.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Askerne 2015 Viognier</strong></a> ($14)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This lovely Viognier shows off white peach and lychee on the nose. The somewhat weighty palate has a continuing array of stone fruits buttressed by a fine core of spices. Yellow melon, minerals and hints of toast are evident on the substantial finish. Viognier can often be extreme; either too gaudy or conversely too austere. Here&rsquo;s a tasty example that wins the day by flying right down the middle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Greenhough 2015 Hope Vineyard Riesling</strong></a> ($15)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Sometimes you taste a wine and you need a moment with it; this was one of those times. I tasted a handful of exciting examples of Riesling in New Zealand; this was as good as any of them and better than most. Bits of linseed oil and subtle yellow fruit inform the nose. The palate shows off granny smith and yellow delicious apple as well as white peach. Spices, minerals and wisps of lemon zest dot the prodigiously long finish. Most striking here is the wonderful tension between fruit and firm, zippy acid. If you love Riesling, find this bottle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Terrace Edge 2016 Pinot Gris</strong></a> ($17)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Vanilla and apricot aromas lead the nose here. The palate is stuffed with Anjou pear, yellow peach and an array of spices. Good weight and restrained fruit steal the show here. Mineral notes lead the finish and crisp acid keeps everything in check.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Nautilus 2016 Pinot Gris</strong></a> ($20)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Orchard fruit aromatics are buoyed by spice notes. There&rsquo;s a burst of pure fruit that dominates the palate; Anjou pear and white peach dominate. The unctuous finish is loaded with continued spices, more fruit and just a hint of mesquite honey. Mouthwatering acid provides structure.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Greywacke 2015 Pinot Gris</strong></a> ($20)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Hints of petrol peak out from the nose here. Candied lemon, spices and oodles of minerals are evident from the first sip through the long finish. Terrific structure, length and persistence of flavor throughout are hallmarks of this wonderful offering.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Coopers Creek 2015 SV Bell-Ringer Albari&ntilde;o</strong></a> ($20)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Of the myriad aromatic whites that are flourishing in New Zealand, Albari&ntilde;o is a particularly interesting case. It hasn&rsquo;t been a traditional grape there, but it appears it&rsquo;s about to have its moment. Winemakers I spend time with in several regions are confident it can flourish and offer a counterpoint to Sauvignon Blanc that retains some similarities and offers crossover food pairing possibilities. Wisps of jalapeno and petrol are evident on the fascinating nose. Pear and peach flavors dominate the palate along with bits of spice. A lovely salinity emerges on the above average finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Te Whare Ra 2016 SV5182 Gew&uuml;rztraminer</strong></a> ($22)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> An intense nose loaded with pineapple aromas leads things off here. The palate here has deeply layered flavors, but ultimately it&rsquo;s light on the tongue offering a beautiful duality. Peach and apricot flavors dominate alongside wisps of toasted hazelnut. The lengthy finish has a bit of a honeyed edge to it and a dollop of spices.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Millton Vineyards &amp; Winery 2015 Chenin Blanc</strong></a> ($22)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This fruit is from their Te Arai Vineyard. Lemon and lime zest are both evident on the nose along with hints of lychee. Apricot, pear and nutmeg spice are apparent on the palate. Salinity, continued spices and stone fruit flavors mark the memorable finish. Racy acid and a wonderful mouthfeel are two characteristics that set this Chenin Blanc apart. This is a lovely wine from a noteworthy producer.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Astrolabe 2016 Chenin Blanc</strong></a> ($24)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This Marlborough Chenin Blanc is a fine example of the variety. Lychee, vanilla, citrus zest and orchard fruits are all in play on the nose. The deeply layered palate shows off peach, apricot, granny smith apple and spice notes. Bits of lemon curd and a finely ground mineral component are both in play on the substantial finish. This is one of those wines it&rsquo;s difficult to put down once you take a sip.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Mount Edward 2016 Riesling</strong></a> ($25)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;Jesus Drank Riesling,&rdquo; that&rsquo;s the motto at Mount Edward. The truth is I&rsquo;m not sure if he did or not, but if it was as tasty and proportionate as what Mount Edward bottles, he surely would have. The nose here is loaded with lemon zest, hints of vanilla and subtle stone fruits. Flavors of grapefruit, peach, white pepper and more dominate the palate. The mineral laced finish is long, lingering and pure.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Spy Valley 2014 Envoy Johnson Vineyard Dry Riesling</strong></a> ($45)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This Riesling leads with an impressively expressive nose. Green papaya and white pepper are both in evidence. The weight palate shows off fleshy yellow melon, peach and a firm core of spices. Bits of flint, continuing spices and hints of lemon zest are all in play on the impressive finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vinoptima 2004 Reserve Gew&uuml;rztraminer</strong></a> ($56)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This library release showcases the age worthy nature of the wines Nick Nobilo is producing on his property in Gisborne. At 13 years old the color doesn&rsquo;t belie the age one bit. From the first whiff to the last sip this Gew&uuml;rztraminer is fresh, vibrant and alive. The welcoming nose is stuffed with apricot and lychee to name a few. The intense palate is deeply layered with wave after wave of intense fruit flavors. Bits of pineapple, spice and wisps of mesquite honey are evident on the impossibly long finish. This impeccably grown, produced and aged Gew&uuml;rztraminer is made in a style that is opulent and lavish but never over the top. To describe this wine in another way, wow!</p> Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article6906 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p>The craft Bourbon movement has been in full swing for a number of years now. In addition to a bevy of interesting products, many of these small producers have compelling stories as well. You can count the Belle Meade Bourbons from Nelson&rsquo;s Green Brier Distillery among their number. In downtown Nashville brothers Andy and Charlie Nelson found a unique spot to resurrect the Whiskey business founded by their great-great-great grandfather in the mid 1800&rsquo;s. Nelson&rsquo;s Green Brier Distillery was family run from that time until State enforced Prohibition shut it down in 1909. It not only introduced Tennessee Whiskey to the world but in those years it was also the largest producer of Whiskey in the state. More than 100 years later the Nelson brothers re-opened it as a small batch producer whose specialty is special cask finished Bourbons.<br /> In addition to those Special Cask Finished Bourbons their current portfolio includes a White Whiskey ($20) and straight Bourbon ($35). I tasted through all three of their cask finished offerings and I was hard pressed to pick a favorite. I found each of them to be distinct and appealing in its own right. In the Single Malt Scotch World Glenmorangie is one of many producers that are well regarded for special cask finished offerings. At their heart, these releases from the Nelson brothers brought those to mind for me; here&rsquo;s a look at that trio.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Belle Meade Bourbon Cognac Cask Finish ($75)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Bourbon barrels selected for this offering had a 30% Rye content. Chosen Barrels also had 6-9 years of age on them prior to entering their secondary aging vessels. They were finished in French Limousin Oak that previously contained XO Cognac that aged in them for 12 years.&nbsp; Vanilla, tangerine zest, and a potpourri of spices leap from the nose. The delicate leaning palate shows off black tea, brown sugar and toasted pecan. Toasty oak, vanilla and bits of honey are all in evidence on the persistent and complex finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Belle Meade Bourbon Madeira Cask Finish ($75)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Belle Meade bourbons with six and nine years of age on them were placed in used Madeira casks for additional aging. Bits of praline, Mexican vanilla bean, and ripe fig burst from the nose. The substantial palate shows off toasted mixed nuts, red fruits, dates, and burnt brown sugar. Baking spices, dark chocolate, and mesquite honey are all part of the noteworthy finish here.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Belle Meade Bourbon Sherry Cask Finish ($75)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This limited release 9 year old Bourbon was finished in Oloroso Sherry Casks brought over from Spain. The Nelsons chose small quantities of barrels from their reserve stock to create this expression. From the first whiff to the last sip this is distinct and impressive Bourbon. Toasted nuts and wisps of tobacco inform the nose. Bits of rum raisin, toast are in evidence on the palate alongside mission fig and date notes. Leather, spices, hints of chocolate, and a touch pf caramel are all present on the long, warm finish.</p> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article6898 Does your wine have a gender? Snooth Editorial <p>Esteemed wine critics like Robert Parker and Antonio Galloni employ gender-positive terms in their tasting notes without compunction. Masculine wines are commonly associated with structure and power, while feminine wines can be perceived as delicate and thin. Speaking about a trip to the <a href=""><strong>Bandol</strong></a> region in the Financial Times, wine writer Jancis Robinson says, &ldquo;When I tasted at the domaine last July in the company of two British wine merchants who also happened to be visiting that day, there was spirited but fruitless discussion as to whether (the wine) is &#39;feminine&#39; or &#39;masculine&#39;. The wine itself certainly isn&#39;t fruitless.&rdquo; A category like gender can help wine drinkers better identify a wine they will like. It&rsquo;s also a tool wine writers use to guide their readers to the right wine. But does the idea of a masculine versus a feminine wine actually resonate? Does it offend you? Or is it just unnecessary? We asked some of the web&rsquo;s top wine writers to weigh in on the position of gender in wine. Read on for their thoughts.<br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cathrine Todd</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dame Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> I do believe in &ldquo;masculine&rdquo; and &ldquo;feminine&rdquo; wines as well as those that are a combination of both; and although I know these terms offend some people as being sexist, they make sense to me. Some people get annoyed by the idea that certain wines are for women and others for men, but I do not think of these terms in these ways. I started out liking &ldquo;masculine&rdquo; wines &ndash; big, structured, lots of tannin, savory flavors &ndash; it was just my natural tendency to like them, and it took me a while to truly appreciate more &ldquo;feminine&rdquo; wines &ndash; light bodied, fruity, soft &ndash; but I love wines that illustrate qualities from both. I think many of us have &ldquo;masculine&rdquo; and &ldquo;feminine&rdquo; qualities and they manifest themselves differently. And so, in my mind, the terms do not determine the sex of the drinker but give a hint of the style of wine. Since I just returned from Israel, I&rsquo;m going to recommend two different wines from the same Israeli producer. Recanati Winery is driven to make wines from Mediterranean varieties as well as finding ones that are indigenous to their local area. The first is a white Ch&acirc;teauneuf-du-Pape inspired wine with 60% Roussanne and 40% Marsanne, their 2014 Special Reserve White which is mainly a &ldquo;masculine&rdquo; white with a big, rich body that firmly shakes your hand and says &ldquo;Hello!&rdquo; yet it has beautiful peach fruit and floral aromas that give it a hint of feminine charm. The &ldquo;feminine&rdquo; wine is their 2015 Marawi (Marawi is an indigenous grape variety that they buy from a Palestinian grower) that has a lighter body, more subtle nose yet its intensely flinty minerality gives it a touch of masculinity. These wines just show that when we come together and recognize ourselves in others we can make beautiful wines and a wonderful world.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Elizabeth Smith</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Traveling Wine Chick</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> I do not think that wines have masculine and feminine qualities, although we associate certain descriptors with gender. However, I do believe that winemakers possess varying sensibilities, palates, and styles, which make their way into the wines that they craft. Two such examples are the following California vermentinos, one made by a man and one made by a woman. Vermentino, whose origin is believed to be Spain, is grown primarily in Italy and also in France, where it is known as rolle, but is also grown sparingly in California. My first example is the 2015 Fields Family Vermentino, Delu Vineyard, Lodi ($19). I tasted this with winemaker Ryan Sherman by a pool on a hot, summer night in Lodi. Whole-cluster pressed, his wine is fermented in stainless steel, dry racked semi dirty, then spends about seven months aging sur lie in five- or six-year-old neutral barrels. The resulting wine is bright and tart, yet also shows a textured, rounder mouthfeel, thanks to that sur lie, barrel aging. My second example is the 2015 Bella Grace Vermentino, Shenandoah Valley, Amador County ($25). The grapes for this wine come from two acres of estate vineyards owned by the Havill family, Charlie, the vineyard manager, and his wife, Michael, the winemaker. Michael both ferments and ages this wine in stainless steel for six months. This mouthwatering, low-alcohol wine is clean, crisp, citrusy, and tropical, with a touch of salinity. These vermentinos are distinctive and delicious, both demonstrating how differently and how well vermentino can be produced in California.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Issac James Baker</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Reading, Writing &amp; Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> I may be in the minority here, but I don&rsquo;t understand attaching gendered terms to wine. <a href=""><strong>I wrote a column late last year</strong></a> arguing that we should do away with the gendered wine binary. Whatever the words masculine and feminine mean, their clich&eacute;d application to wine seems silly. Fine wine is something so profoundly difficult to describe. I get that. I try to describe fine wine all the time, and it&rsquo;s not easy. But the masculine/feminine binary has become such a tired trope. Young Bordeaux can be bold and strong, but so are women. Aged Burgundy can be refined and elegant, but so are men. If we&rsquo;re trying to explain and demystify wine, how are we achieving that goal by attaching traditional gender stereotypes to wine?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jade Helm DWS, CS, CSW</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Tasting Pour</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Of course wines possess masculine and feminine characteristics, plus many shades of gray (or purple as the case may be). In choosing a masculine and feminine example I have a predictable answer and an unexpected answer. Cabernet Sauvignon is the James Bond of grapes. If it wore clothes the closet would be filled with&nbsp; smoking jackets, leather jackets, dinner jackets - wow Cab Sauv wears a lot of jackets. Is it manly because of the tannic thick skinned, high acid grape itself, or its affinity for oak barrels that add smoke and leather? Whatever the reason, Cab IS called King. Consider the <strong>2012 Mercer Estates Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve</strong> 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Malbec, 5% Syrah, 4% Petit Verdot ($42)&nbsp; It almost demands you sit in a dark wood paneled den to enjoy this savory wine. Spice, licorice, root beer, dried herbs,&nbsp; black fruits, smoke and leather. Merlot might be the obvious feminine choice but I prefer, Cabernet Franc, Cab Sauv&rsquo;s other cohort. I find Leah Jorgensen Cellars expresses the many feminine faces of this lovely grape. Sometimes it is the elegant lady in a flowing red gown.&nbsp; Her perfume of violets, spice, and juicy ripe fruit lingers along with her laughter as she glides across the floor to charm a lucky fellow. Sometimes it gets outdoorsy with the fresh strawberry and green pepper notes of a spring garden. The <strong>2015 LEAH JORGENSEN CELLARS OREGON &ldquo;TOUR RAIN&rdquo; VIN ROUGE ($25)</strong> captures the fresh girlishness of a picnic enjoyed barefoot in a day dress. The perfect melding of hatch chili with floral, blueberry, raspberry, and peppery spice. The <strong>2014 LEAH JORGENSEN CELLARS &ldquo;CLOS ROGUE VALLEY&rdquo; CABERNET FRANC ($50)</strong> has all of the fresh red and blue bramble fruit of youth mixed with experienced aromas of earth and clove. This dame doesn&rsquo;t need a man, but if the right one caught her eye, she might give him a tumble. Maybe he drinks Cabernet Sauvignon.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jim van Bergen</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>JVB UNCORKED</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The terms &quot;feminine&quot; and &quot;masculine&quot; are used less commonly in today&#39;s wine world. I have used them as descriptors and found them helpful to communicate a style of wine, but these words are sometimes interpreted as offensive and sexist to segments of the wine community and should be considered carefully.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Feminine refers to wines that may be lower in alcohol, have bright fruit and acidity, or that express qualities of being smooth, round, delicate and gentle on the palate. An example of a feminine wine to me is Panther Creek 2014 Kalita Vineyard Pinot Noir, which shows bright fruit and acidity with a luxurious, gentle, and refined mouthfeel.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> On the other hand, Masculine refers to wines that may be higher in alcohol, that are fruit forward,&nbsp; feature dominating tannins, or that express the qualities of being bold, strong, and firm, with a powerful mouthfeel. A masculine wine I&#39;d offer as an example would be from Argentina&#39;s Uco Valley, Bodegas Salentein 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which features bold flavors, massive tannins, and a strong mouthfeel.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Liza Swift</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>BrixChicks</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> To think of assigning gender qualities to wine, was to remember visiting Kaena Wines in Los Olivos CA and speaking to owner and winemaker, Mikael Sigouin. He showcased barrel samples of his County of Santa Barbara wines and discussed the sensuous qualities of the samples. In several cases, the descriptions came down to wines that had a clarity of fruit and litheness that we called feminine. Others had a power or a heft that we experienced as masculine. It made me think of Grenache with its clear red fruit and spice lending itself to feminine. This contrasts with masculine Syrah, which I expect to have dark power, pepper and meatiness.&nbsp; Not always. Wines, like people, can vary greatly and may not conform to their expected place on a spectrum. In the case of wine, the soil the grapes are grown in can influence them greatly. In Kaena&rsquo;s case, Mikael makes wine from the Tierra Alta vineyard from soil that he describes as &ldquo;limestone/clay which creates high toned aromas and great minerality.&rdquo; Whichever way they swing, they are delicious. The Grenache has a red label and the Syrah, a blue, which might telegraph gender or might just symbolize the winemaker&rsquo;s heart is all in, like blue arteries and red veins. And like the masculine and the feminine, Syrah and Grenache are often the most successful together where the best qualities of each create delicious blends.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Martin Redmond</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>ENOFYLZ Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> I recently noted a wine described as &ldquo; broad-shouldered&rdquo;. I wasn&rsquo;t exactly sure what that meant. Was it full bodied? Did the term refer to the persistent of its aromas and flavors? Both? I took it to mean the wine was full-bodied. But I wondered if others also might not understand what the writer intended to convey about the wine. It reminded me of the reasons I avoid gendered wine terms like &ldquo;masculine&rdquo; and &ldquo;feminine&rdquo;. Such connotative terms are intended to convey a sense of the wine&rsquo;s personality. For example, a light-bodied, Pinot Noir with floral aromas might be considered to be &ldquo;feminine&rdquo;. On the other hand, a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with earthy aromas might be considered to be &ldquo;masculine&rdquo;. While there is nothing inherently favorable or unfavorable about the body of a wine, describing it as either feminine or masculine, potentially has sexist implications. For that reason, and to make my tasting notes as straightforward as possible, I generally prefer to simply refer to a wine&rsquo;s body using other wine descriptors such as light or full-bodied, or perhaps lean or ample. In my book there are plenty of wine descriptors that can be used to describe a wine&rsquo;s personality without the potential stereotypes associated with gender.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Melanie Ofenloch</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>DallasWineChick</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> I am a gender neutral kinda gal &ndash; it comes from being one of the few women in technology at the executive table during my career, to being one of the first women to box in the Golden Gloves (Fight of the Night, Check) &ndash; I like to defy stereotypes. Cathy Corison, Winemaker of Corison Winery, personifies that same approach. While studying biology at Pomona College, she joined the men&rsquo;s diving team because there was no women&rsquo;s team. Her tenacity continued throughout her career as she continued to break stereotypes by going where women had never had the opportunity to go prior. Today, she continues that in her wines, and when I was asked by Snooth to write about masculine vs feminine wines, Cathy immediately came to mind. What I love about her is that she stays true to her sense of place, style and self with her 100 percent cabernet wines (Corison Kronos Vineyard and Corison Napa Valley Cabernet) that show balance, elegance and power. Then she completely shows her other side with the Coraz&oacute;n Gew&uuml;rztraminer, which has some spice and sass, but would probably be described as her feminine wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Nancy Brazil</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Pull that Cork</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Masculine and feminine are not adjectives I use to describe wine, though if someone describes a wine as such I have a pretty good idea what is meant. Masculine characteristics include generous dark fruit aromas and flavors, a medium+ to heavy body with generous tannins and a long finish with higher alcohol levels expressed as sweetness or heat on the finish. Generally I think of these wines as grown in a warm region and made in a New World style. Feminine wines, on the other hand, often reveal red fruit and herbal aromas, red fruit flavors that taste like berries and are sometimes tart like cranberries. Herbaceous backnotes may be present along with a light to medium body, tannins that vary from light to grippy and alcohol levels that are generally lower. I expect feminine wines to be grown in cooler climates and to be made in an Old World style.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Recently I participated in a tasting of Cabernet Franc that provides an excellent example of the variety made in both a masculine and feminine style. 2014 Brecon Estate Cabernet Franc, Paso Robles, offers dark fruit, cigar box and earthy flavors with generous tannins and medium+ body. By comparison, the 2014 Glorie Farm Winery Cabernet Franc, Hudson River Region, is translucent ruby in the glass with tart red fruit flavors, celery leaf backnotes and a lighter body. Same variety, different growing conditions and different winemaking styles. Two distinct wines. Both enjoyable.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Describing white wines as masculine or feminine is more difficult. I&rsquo;ll pour myself a glass of feminine red wine and get back to you. Cheers!</p> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article6904 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p>MAGNUM Cream Liqueur ($28): This Cream Liqueur is made from a combination of Speyside Scotch and cream from Holland, the home of Holstein dairy cows. In fact the folks over at MAGNUM located a cooperative of dairy farmers that allows their cows to freely roam the pasture without being penned in. The Scotch used was aged in American oak for three years<br /> This Cream Liqueur is made from a combination of Speyside Scotch and cream from Holland, the home of Holstein dairy cows.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Everything about MAGNUM speaks to me. It&rsquo;s delicious, beautifully packaged and has a purity of flavor that makes it quite difficult to stop drinking once you&rsquo;ve taken a sip. However its single greatest attribute is likely its versatility. Sipped neat or over ice MAGNUM shows off notes of toasted pecans, cr&egrave;me brulee, vanilla, and bits of sweet dark chocolate. At 17% the alcohol content is relatively modest and a gentle, pleasing bit of heat echoes throughout MAGNUM as does a creaminess this is simply a cut above.&nbsp; As a cocktail component MAGNUM is the secret ingredient you need behind your bar. Mix some into your coffee instead of milk as zingy alternative; or simply elevate and reinvent Milkshakes, Egg Creams, Black Cows, Chocolate Malteds or other American Soda Fountain Classics. As much as I enjoyed MAGNUM straight over ice the Espresso Martini I made was my favorite use of it so far. The stainless steel carafe it comes in resembles a milk can and it&rsquo;s reusable and recyclable.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>MAGNUM Espresso Martini</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> 1 Part Magnum<br /><br /> 1 Part Espresso<br /><br /> 1 Part Vodka (I used Crystal Head)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Pour all of the ingredients into a shaker over ice. Shake well and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with dark chocolate shavings.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Enjoy!</p> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article6897 This is the next big sparkling wine region. John Downes <p>In the United Kingdom and Europe, English sparkling wine is taking wine shelves, newspaper columns and wine enthusiasts by storm. So much so that I accompanied two of my corporate clients to the picturesque Surrey and Hampshire vineyards in the south of England last year; in previous years they had requested a visit to Champagne. It&rsquo;s not difficult to see why English sparkling wine, or &lsquo;ESW&rsquo; is so popular. For a start it&rsquo;s regularly beating Champagne at international tasting competitions, much to the annoyance of the Champenois!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> With about 2000 hectares (4,940 acres) under vine, England now boasts about 460 vineyards and 125 wineries, producing about 6 million bottles of wine a year. Not surprisingly, two-thirds of this total is now sparkling wine. The sector which keeps expanding year on year with the &lsquo;Champagne grapes&rsquo;, with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier now accounting for over 50 per cent of total varietal plantings, and growing.<br /> For the record, the most northerly commercial vineyard is near York in Yorkshire. Denbies in the beautiful Surrey hills is the largest vineyard covering an amazing 106 hectares (265 acres), making it one of the largest single vineyard estates in Europe.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> The number of countries enjoying English sparkling wine has increased by a third over the past year and is now exported to 27 countries, including the United States, Japan, Taiwan, France, Italy and the Scandinavian countries. &ldquo;With major producers on track to deliver a tenfold increase in exports, we could soon be tapping into more countries&rdquo;, boasted one winemaker. His confidence is well founded as multi million pound investment is pouring in.In what was once a cottage industry, immaculate, well managed vineyards and shiny, temperature controlled stainless steel wineries are now the norm.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Champagne may still be the bubble to beat but England is similar to the king of sparklers in so many ways. England&rsquo;s chilly, northerly climate&rsquo;s is similar to the Champagne region in north-east France and, what&rsquo;s more, Champagne&rsquo;s famous chalk soils slide under Paris, dip under the Channel and emerge in the south of England&hellip;&hellip;the white cliffs of Dover and all that?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It doesn&rsquo;t stop there. The grape varieties are the same, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, whilst English sparkling wine is made in exactly the same way as Champagne with a second fermentation in the bottle. Here a pinch of sugar and a touch of yeast are added to a dry, still white wine before the bottle is sealed. The yeast reacts with the sugar to give a little more alcohol and carbon dioxide gas - the fizz. This gas builds up in the sealed bottle and as it can&rsquo;t escape becomes an integral part of the wine. Hey presto &ndash; we have English sparkling!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> So, you can see why for me, English sparkling wine is the ultimate Champagne lookalike.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> My favourite English sparklers? I have plenty but look out for Hambledon, Exton Park, Ridgeview, Nyetimber, Gusbourne, Camel Valley, Coates &amp; Seely, Wisto&hellip; the list goes on.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I&rsquo;m the world&rsquo;s number one fan of English sparkling wine so it was no surprise that Champagne Taittinger bought a large slice of Kent last year with a view to producing English sparkling wine whilst Champagne Pommery are now collaborating with Hattingley vineyard in Hampshire. Bet your bottom Euro more Champagne houses are on their way!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 350 Masters of Wine in the world, is a speaker, television and radio broadcaster, and writer on wine. Check out his new website at <a href=""><strong></strong></a></em></p> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article6903 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p>Sugarlands Shine - Mark and Digger&#39;s Hazelnut Rum ($28): Sugarlands Distilling Company worked in collaboration with Mark and Digger from the Moonshiner&rsquo;s TV show to create this flavored Rum. They combined Hazelnuts with rum in their still to create this expression. Mark and Digger&rsquo;s Hazelnut Rum was just released on January 3rd during an episode of moonshiners. For each jar sold that night they donated $1 to first responders to recent wildfires in Gatlinburg, TN.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s currently available online as well as at Sugarland&rsquo;s downtown Gatlinburg distillery store.<br /> Sugarlands Distilling Company worked in collaboration with Mark and Digger from the Moonshiner&rsquo;s TV show to create this flavored Rum. They combined Hazelnuts with rum in their still to create this expression. Mark and Digger&rsquo;s Hazelnut Rum was just released on January 3rd during an episode of moonshiners. For each jar sold that night they donated $1 to first responders to recent wildfires in Gatlinburg, TN.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s currently available online as well as at Sugarland&rsquo;s downtown Gatlinburg distillery store.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Sipped neat aromas of both fresh and toasted hazelnuts leap from the glass. A host of spices such cloves, cinnamon and vanilla bean fill the palate along with continued references to hazelnut. Mesquite honey leads the inherent sweetness of the finish alongside firm toasty barrel notes and white pepper. If you enjoy your Rum on the sweet side with added natural flavors this is an offering you&rsquo;ll want to seek out.&nbsp; I liked it neat but I also experimented with a couple of different drink ideas, one that&rsquo;s well suited for the winter months and the other a slight modification of a classic.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Adult Hot Chocolate</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> 2 parts Hazelnut rum<br /><br /> 6 parts Hot Chocolate<br /><br /> 1 Tablespoon Whipped Cream<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Stir the Hazelnut Rum into the Hot Chocolate, top with the Whipped Cream and serve</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Italian Sunset</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> 2 Parts Hazelnut Rum<br /><br /> 3 Parts Orange Juice<br /><br /> 3 Parts Seltzer<br /><br /> A Dash of Grenadine<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Fill a glass with crushed ice. In succession add the rum, orange juice and seltzer. Top with a dash of Grenadine and garnish with 2 Maraschino Cherries. Serve without stirring.</em></p> Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article6896 A different way to think about pink wine Michelle Williams <p>Provence is one of the oldest wine producing regions in the world. While Proven&ccedil;ale ros&eacute; may be a popular trend, production of wine in Provence is not. Wines of Provence has done a wonderful job marketing the Proven&ccedil;ale ros&eacute; as more than just a wine, it is a lifestyle. It is the South of France in a glass; crisp, refreshing, perfect for sunny day sipping, pairs seamlessly with seafood, shellfish, beaches, picnics, and open air cafes. The sun-drenched South of France art of living exists in a glass of Provence ros&eacute;. However, these wines are not &ldquo;one size fits all;&rdquo; rather, like a patchwork quilt, Proven&ccedil;ale ros&eacute;s are crafted with a variety of grapes in varying terroirs using many different winemaking techniques. One such technique is aging these ros&eacute;s in oak, resulting in a diverse wine that is ideal for winter consumption as well.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Provence is the gold standard for ros&eacute;. It is often light, bright, and refreshing, pairing elegantly with a large variety of cuisines. It is seen as a warm climate wine, ideal for spring and summer, with sales rising dramatically April through mid-September. However, Provence is the largest geographical wine region in France, producing a wide variety of ros&eacute;s. In fact, there are as many different styles of Proven&ccedil;ale ros&eacute; as there are producers, 582 to be exact.<br /> There are many characteristics that distinguish Proven&ccedil;ale ros&eacute;s. One such characteristic is color, with six approved colors that emulated by ros&eacute; producers around the globe. Other distinguishing characteristics of Provence is its soil and climate. The region contains two main soil types; western and central Provence soil contains limestone and limestone-clay; eastern Provence soil contains crystalline massif and schist, thus greatly impacting the vines and the overall taste of the wine. Because of the size of Provence it also experiences a variety of climates. The coastal regions of the east experience a temperate, seaside climate, the central region experiences an inland Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summer days and cold winters, and the north western region experiences a myriad of micro-climates, continental climates, and a very active Mistral wind. Provence ros&eacute; is a blend crafted of Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourv&egrave;dre, and Tibouren. The blending process is up to the discretion of the winemaker. Furthermore, even the process used to make ros&eacute; (direct pressing or maceration/bleeding) is up to each winemaker. However, in the end what is crafted from these elements of terroir and winemaking style accounts for what the world recognizes as Proven&ccedil;ale ros&eacute;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> There is one more key element of surprise available to the winemaker, an element that adds an entirely different dimension to Proven&ccedil;ale ros&eacute;: oak. Typically Proven&ccedil;ale ros&eacute;s are steel or concrete fermented, aged a short time in the bottle, and then shipped for early spring consumption. However, if you look hard you will find those aged in oak. And it is worth the search! These wines are ideal for consumption between October and March and pair elegantly with heartier cuisine. The added layers of flavors and textures of the oak treatment on Proven&ccedil;ale ros&eacute; take the wine to a different level of enjoyment.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Oak aged Proven&ccedil;ale ros&eacute;s not only offer depth and texture, they have age-ability. The older the oak aged ros&eacute; the more sherry-like in flavor it becomes, migrating from fresh berries and herbs to dried figs, apricots, caramel, and nutmeg; its texture becomes viscous like a dessert wine, yet it is not sweet and maintains its round acidity. For example, a 1996 Ch&acirc;teau Bas Le Temple Ros&eacute; today is vibrant, with layers of flavors and a rich texture.&nbsp; Additionally, the 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009, and 2015 are stunning wines with depth and complexity. The 04 and 06 offer notes of holiday potpourri simmering on the stove. Oak aged Proven&ccedil;ale ros&eacute;s should be synonymous with holiday enjoyment and are an ideal way to enjoy ros&eacute;s year round.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> To start your oak aged Proven&ccedil;ale ros&eacute; wine collection here are three suggestions from outstanding wineries:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2015 Ch&acirc;teau Bas Le Temple Ros&eacute;</strong></a> Coteaux D&rsquo;Aix en Provence, France ($20): A blend of Mandarine with Mangue hues, crafted of 80% Mouv&egrave;dre and 20% Rolle, this wine offers notes of fresh red berries with soft notes of spice, it is crisp and round on the palate with a depth of richness and texture developed through the time it spent in French oak barrels. A perfectly structured wine with bright acidity and an added complexity that further expands the possibilities of an already food friendly wine. This wine has an aging potential of ten years or more; evolving into a mandarin, caramel, holiday spice, dried fig wine over time.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2015 Ch&acirc;teau Thuerry l&rsquo;Exception Merlot</strong></a> &ndash; Caladoc Ros&eacute;, IGP Var Coteaux Du Verdon, France: A pronounced Mandarine hue with a touch of Groseille added; crafted of 52% Merlot and 48% Caladoc, offering all the crisp red berry notes of a stainless steel rose with added spice notes and a touch of marcona almonds, refreshing with an added volume and depth due to its 7 months of aging in new French and American oak barrels, textural on the palate with round acidity and a lingering, mouth-coating finish. This wine claims a five year aging potential, longer is possible in proper conditions for an entirely new expression.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2014 Clos Cibonne Cotes de Provence Tradition Ros&eacute; Provence</strong></a>, France ($24): Beautiful Mangue color of soft pink with orange hues, crafted of 90% Tibouren and 10% Grenache, dazzling notes of cherries and strawberries are met with dried orange peel and baking spices, it has depth and texture that stands out among non-oak aged ros&eacute;s, it is full bodied, almost fat on the palate with layers of flavors and rich texture. This wine offers an elegant structure with more depth than the previous two ros&eacute;s because it is aged in French oak longer than the other two wines. Excellent aging potential for a metamorphosis of sherry style flavors in a crisp, acidic wine.</p> Fri, 10 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article6902 It’s okay to buy value sparkling wine for Valentine’s Day. Mark Angelillo <p>I took my then-girlfriend, now-wife to Florence by way of Tuscany for our first Valentine&rsquo;s Day. The location in combination with more than a few bottles of <a href=""><strong>Vino Nobile di Montepulciano</strong></a> made for a memorable trip. Unfortunately for me, a Valentine&rsquo;s Day like that one is hard to top. But there is one thing we can do on Valentine&rsquo;s Day, year after year, wherever we are: pick a really lovely bottle of sparkling wine that will be memorable no matter where it is consumed. As I&rsquo;ve always said, we should be using sparkling wine to make something special happen in the absence of other ideas. The wine doesn&rsquo;t need to be expensive relative to the experience, which is why this article will focus on value. When it comes to sparkling wine, there is a catch: oftentimes - even when quality is lacking - the price point will be higher (perhaps by just a few dollars) because the wine sparkles. Add the time of year into the equation (in this case, Valentine&rsquo;s Day) and you find yourself buying an overpriced bottle of adequate sparkling wine. In light of this, I&rsquo;ve targeted a few producers who won&rsquo;t disappoint in terms of quality and price. These are some of my favorite values which I think you will enjoy most &ndash; whether you are in Florence or Florida this Valentine&rsquo;s Day.<br /><br /> <br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Ros&eacute; all the Way</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Mo&euml;t &amp; Chandon Rose Imperial Champagne NV</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This premium-priced bottle is a value in its own right, and it&rsquo;s the only premium bottle I will recommend this year. As far as I am concerned, this wine deserves a higher price point. Light and lively strawberry cranberry and cherry fruit aromas are framed by a bit of toast. Festive and smooth, this brings a delightful, delicate mouthfeel and more ripe strawberry notes, pink grapefruit and citrus pith with a creamy finish that delivers more tart cranberry and an herbal undernote. MSRP: $49.00, 12% ABV, 92 pts.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ruffino Rose Extra Dry NV</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Glera, the grape used to make Prosecco, is blended with Pinot Noir to create this accessible ros&eacute; sparkler.&nbsp; Try it out on someone who likes Prosecco as a rule and they will be pleasantly surprised. Rose petal and sweet ripe cherry aromas and a strawberry preserve glaze. Creamy and smooth on the palate, frosted icing, cranberry and cherry fruit, and a red licorice finish. MRSP: $14.99, 11% ABV.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em><strong>Seeking Complexity</strong></em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Meyer-Fonne Brut Extra Cremant d&rsquo;Alsace NV</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> I continue to bang on the Cremant d&rsquo;Alsace drum. The quality-to-price ratio is extremely high &ndash; among the highest on the market today. Depth and complexity are guaranteed. Heady savory lemon, toasted hazelnut and fresh yeast aromas are very aromatic here. There&rsquo;s a bit of cream on the palate which shifts towards lemon and grapefruit notes, more dark toast and smoky brioche, leading straight into a lighter note of peach and apple, finishing with vanilla, cream and some melon. MSRP: $26, 12% ABV, 91 pts.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em><strong>Sweet Tooth</strong></em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Cantine Maschio Cadoro Moscato Dolce Puglia NV</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This is something different and accessible for the citrus fruit-bomb lovers in your life. Honeyed apple and peach, apricot, and sweet syrupy orange blossom on the nose. Effervescent and juicy on the palate, this one is for those with a sweet tooth. Clementine juice and pith full on the palate with a white blossom edge and a creamy finish. MSRP: $8.99, 7.5% ABV.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em><strong>Classic Flavors</strong></em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Anna de Codorniu Blanc de Blancs Brut Reserva Cava NV</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Anna de Codorniu paved the way for the United States&rsquo; Cava craze, and they continue to deliver as a leader in the category. Light floral aromas of orange blossom, green apple and pear with pungent spice and a hint of lemon. Expressive palate of Meyer lemon, grapefruit and apple with creamy pastry crust notes and a frolicking texture. There&#39;s a touch of tart citrus pith on the finish adding a bit of complexity to this agreeable crowd pleaser. MSRP: $15, 11.5% ABV, 90 pts<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Domaine Saint-Remy Cremant d&#39;Alsace NV</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Elegant fruity aromas of glazed pear, fresh apple and vanilla cream on the nose. This exhibits a truly fresh palate of lively stone fruit, pierced with zesty acidity and a pile of spice - and wrapped in a creamy layer of vanilla bean, rolled oats and brioche. MSRP: $22, 12.5% ABV, 92 pts.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Treveri Blanc de Noirs Brut Columbia Valley NV</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The only dedicated sparkling wine producer in Washington State is a master of its trade. Light, salmon color. A savory spice greets the nose with red fruit aromas of strawberry and cherry. A touch of medicine and licorice to start, this warms in the mouth with more light red fruit notes of watermelon and cherry with a finish of dried fruit. MSRP: $20, 12% ABV<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vilarnau Brut Reserva Cava NV</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Light grapefruit and lemon aromas. Tart and focused in the mouth with a creamy yeast note, this is austere yet restrained with pear and green apple fruit notes coming through on the finish. MSRP: $12.99, 11.5% ABV<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Bodega Norton Extra Brut Mendoza NV</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Fresh lemon and pear aromas with light potpourri notes. The floral notes continue on to the palate where light peach, apple and grapefruit notes mix with good acidity and a pleasantly viscous mouthfeel, finishing with a bit more lemon and an oak note. MSRP: $15, ABV 12%.</p> Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article6901 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p><br /> Calvados Boulard Pays d&rsquo;Auge VSOP ($45): All of the apples used for Calvados Boulard are harvested from orchards located in the Pays d&rsquo;Auge region of Normandy. Everything undergoes a double distillation process followed by several years of aging in French oak. Final blends are culled from brandies of different ages and from different sites. Founded in 1825, Calvados Boulard is a family producer 5 generations into their history. They&rsquo;re recognized as one of the leading Apple Brandy producers out there. In 2015 they were named the Calvados Distillery of the year at the NY Spirits Competition. Their range includes 4 distinct expressions. The VSOP is their entry level Brand. It&rsquo;s also available in 200ml flask size packaging ($20).<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Hints of fruitcake spice, toast and bright orchard fruit are all evident on the nose. Droves of baked apple characteristics are joined by spices such nutmeg and vanilla bean on the flavorful and well-proportioned palate. The finish is layered and gentle with continuing orchard fruits, particularly golden delicious apple, spices and a final dollop of toasty oak.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Calvados Boulard VSOP works well sipped neat in a snifter, but it also makes for a lovely cocktail component. After experimenting with several classic recipes I found that my favorite use of Calvados Boulard VSOP is in a Manhattan.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Apple Brandy Manhattan</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> 2 Parts Calvados Boulard VSOP<br /><br /> 1 Part Red Vermouth<br /><br /> A Dash of Angostura Bitters<br /><br /> Orange Zest<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Mix all of the ingredients together briefly in a shaker. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Enjoy.</em></p> Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article6895 Surprise! Bordeaux is Modern and Affordable. Gabe Sasso <p>Bordeaux is different things to different people. To many seasoned wine lovers it&rsquo;s one of the most prestigious wine regions in the world, home to some of the greatest reds and whites the planet has to offer. When you look at Bordeaux&rsquo;s track record of excellence through quality, scores and reputation over generations this is a fair and well-earned assessment. To a completely separate group of people Bordeaux can come across a bit differently than that. Take the newer American wine lover for instance. Their experience with wine might have started out by drinking wines from California. They&rsquo;re comfortable with the price points and the fact that the front label most often boldly exclaims &ldquo;Cabernet Sauvignon,&rdquo; &ldquo;Merlot,&rdquo; or &ldquo;Sauvignon Blanc&rdquo;. At first blush these particular folks should be interested in Bordeaux as those are three of the key grapes upon which Bordeaux&rsquo;s legend rests. However some are intimidated by a variety of perceptions that range from, &ldquo;All the wines are expensive,&rdquo; or &ldquo;You have to age them a long time,&rdquo; to &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not sure what grapes are in there.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The truth is there was a time when all of these were valid claims -- to varying degrees, of course. However over the last few decades there has been a shift in Bordeaux.<br /> Certainly pricey, highly rated, age-worthy wines are still in evidence. However more and more vintners have recognized the shift of world-wide palates. Many wine lovers are looking for wines that can be consumed early alongside their favorite contemporary meals. Like everyone else they love a good value too. Bordeaux winemakers are planting more white grapes than before and producing more ros&egrave; to help quench the growing global thirst for that style. Many of these same producers are also putting the grape varieties in question on the back label so that consumers know exactly what&rsquo;s in the bottle they&rsquo;re purchasing. They do all of this while still maintaining their focus on the idea that the vineyard is the driving force behind any great wine. I just tasted through a case of wine from Bordeaux. Here are my thoughts about my nine favorite wines from that dozen. They&rsquo;re all reasonably priced with none reaching forty dollars. Each of them is also delicious and well-represents Bordeaux . So, if you haven&rsquo;t been drinking Bordeaux because of old ideas, the time is right to taste what they&rsquo;ve been up to!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ch&acirc;teau Du Champs Des Treilles 2015 &ldquo;Vin Passion&rdquo; Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux</strong></a> ($15)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This producer has twenty-four acres under vine, sixteen for red and eight for white. They farm using biodynamic methods and harvest manually. This wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc (34%), S&egrave;millon (33%), and Muscadelle (33%). White flowers, orange zest and white pepper dominate the nose. The palate is remarkably fresh and loaded with appealing fruits such as yellow melon and hints of green apple. Wet limestone leads the long, crisp, pleasing finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Close Des Lunes 2014 Blanche Bordeaux</strong></a> ($20)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This blend of S&egrave;millon (70%) and Sauvignon Blanc (30%) comes from the Sauternes region, an area most famous for outstanding dessert wines. Aging occurred over seven months on the lees. Stone fruit and lemon ice aromas lead the way here. The palate shows of restrained gooseberry, peach and wisps of savory herbs are evident on the even-keeled palate. Continued citrus notes are evident on the persistent finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ch&acirc;teau De C&eacute;rons 2013 Blanc Sec Graves</strong></a> ($28)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Twenty-seven of their sixty-four acres are dedicated to white grapes, some of which go to sweet wines. This one blends Sauvignon Blanc (50%), with S&egrave;millon (40%), and Sauvignon Gris (10%). They harvest by hand and age in stainless steel on the lees. White peach and hints of papaya are evident on the nose. The concentrated palate is loaded with stone fruits, citrus and tiny bits of Anjou pear. Kiwi, white pepper and lemon ice are all in evidence on the finish. Lively acid keeps things mouth-watering.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau Tire P&eacute; 2012 &ldquo;Diem&rdquo; Bordeaux </strong></a>($12)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This is one hundred percent Merlot from vines with ten to fifteen years of age on them. This family owned and operated organic producer makes their everyday wines with minimal use of oak. This offering was aged in concrete tanks for nine months. Red cherry aromas are underscored by a gentle hint of tar on the nose. The palate is stuffed with a burst of fresh red fruit flavors from the aforementioned cherry to bits of raspberry. Dried strawberry, black pepper and earth are all evident on the finish. At around $12 this is absolute steal. If you need a new house red, look no further.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ch&agrave;teau Mauvesin Barton 2012 Moulis-En-M&egrave;doc </strong></a>($21)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This blend of Merlot (48%), Cabernet Sauvignon (35%), Cabernet Franc (14%), and Petit Verdot (3%) came from thirty-five year old vines. The fruit is harvested by block and optically sorted. Each lot was separately aged over twelve months in new and previously used oak. The dollop of Petit Verdot blended in here provides a velvety edge that is evident from the first sip onward. Black cherry and bits of blackberry are evident on the nose. Cassis and bits of black raspberry dot the palate. Chicory, black pepper and a hint of chocolate are all evident on the solid finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Clos Puy Arnaud 2013 La Cuv&egrave;e Bistrot De Puy Arnaud Castillon C&ograve;tes De Bordeaux</strong></a> ($25)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> All twenty-seven acres of their vineyards are dedicated to red grapes. They are certified biodynamic. This is a classic Right Bank blend of Merlot (70%), and Cabernet Franc (30%). Aging took place over 3 months in cement vats; it is one hundred percent unoaked. Leather and cherry aromas leap from the nose. The palate shows off plums, cloves, and black cherry. Currant, minerals and additional red and black fruit flavors continue through the above average finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ch&acirc;teau De Reignac 2010 Bordeaux Sup&egrave;rieur</strong></a> ($31)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Three quarters of their two-hundred acres are dedicated to red grapes. The vines have an average age of forty-two years old. Merlot (75%), and Cabernet Sauvignon (25%) make up the blend here. Aging took place in French oak barrels, stainless steel and wooden vats. Hints of toasty oak underpin oodles of red fruit aromas. The palate here is filled with fresh red cherry flavors, black pepper and bits of thyme. Hints of roasted coffee, earth and continued spice notes are evident on the long finish. Racy acid and firm tannins provide excellent structure.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Clos Du Jaugueyron 2012 Haut-M&egrave;doc</strong></a> ($36)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This small producer has only 7.4 acres under vine. They are certified organic and biodynamic. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (53%), Merlot (40%), and Petit Verdot (7%). Barrel aging took place over twelve months in new (25%) and used (75%) oak. Ripe wild strawberry, cassis and vanilla aromas burst from the nose. The palate is loaded with rich berry fruit flavors that are underpinned with hints of espresso. Chicory, black pepper and a bit of sage are all evident on the long, layered finish<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ch&agrave;teau Du Seuil 2014 C&egrave;rons</strong></a> ($34)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This certified organic producer has thirty-seven acres in Graves and twenty-four in C&ograve;tes de Bordeaux. It&rsquo;s composed entirely of S&egrave;millon. Hand harvesting occurred over several weeks to assure proper levels of Botrytis. Fermentations and aging took place over twelve months in new and previously used oak. White peach and apricot aromas are joined by bits of vanilla bean. The palate here is stuffed with oodles of fresh, pure fruit flavors. The honeyed finish shows off mango, and dried apricot. Firm, racy acid keeps this balanced and refreshing. </p> Fri, 03 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article6899 These New Wave Wine Grapes Are Really Catching On Snooth Editorial <p>A new year provides the perfect opportunity to try new things, but how far will you go?&nbsp; Many wine drinkers cling to familiar grape varieties or settle for what&rsquo;s in easy reach. Don&rsquo;t miss out, wine lover. There are between 5,000 and 10,000 varieties of Vitis Vinifera, the plant species responsible for nearly all wine grapes, planted around the world. Certain grapes have risen the ranks because of their universally unobjectionable flavors, tendency to resist vine diseases, and general amiability in vineyards. A slew of wonderful wine grapes have been overlooked for centuries, but things are starting to change. The rise of global communication has made it easier than ever for wine drinkers to discover new grapes. Today&rsquo;s consumer climate demands that which is new (to us) and exotic. We have a strong desire to stay ahead of trends. The web&rsquo;s top wine writers are here to speculate on grapes that could be part of a new wave. Heed their counsel -- and if you don&rsquo;t see these grapes at your local restaurants and retailers, just ask.<br /> <strong>Ancient, Indigenous, Un-named</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> January is resolution time. How about abandoning eat less, work out more and embrace a wine-filled resolution? Domaine Biblia Chora has crafted a wine that is delicious and unique, perfect for a new year&rsquo;s resolution of trying new grape varieties in 2017. The <strong>2011 Biblia Chora Biblinos Oenos</strong> is crafted of a 100% un-named local varietal; clear deep ruby in the glass; aromas of fresh red and black fruit, black pepper, dusty earth, minerality, and a faint trail of pleasing charred oak; the wine offered medium acidity, tannins, body, and finish; it offers a very pleasing rustic earthiness, it is not overly complex but quite delicious. This wine is believed to be crafted of the same varietal from the 8th century BC used by the Greeks and Phoenicians to make Sacred Wine. Upon discovering these vines growing wild in an ancient vineyard and DNA testing the grapes, Biblia Chora confirmed the grapes were vitis vinifera, but not related to any modern grapes. So embrace something new this year with this ancient, indigenous, un-named varietal.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Michelle Williams</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Rockin Red Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Baco Noir</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Baco Noir, created by Fran&ccedil;ois Baco, is a hybrid of the French variety, Folle Blanche, and an unknown variety of North American Vitis riparia. Once produced in Burgundy and the Loire, it made its way to North America, where it is now considered by many in the wine world to be a quintessential American grape. Because of its cold hardiness, it is grown around Canada and United States in areas such as Michigan, New York, Niagara Peninsula, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Quebec, and Wisconsin. Baco Noir is darkly pigmented and possesses the zingy acidity that I crave in a red wine, making it fantastically food friendly. However, what I most love about Baco Noir is its bucolic quality and its ability to demonstrate terroir like nobody&#39;s business. Baco Noir can be made in a variety of styles, from Bordeaux-style to Burgundian, but I fell in love with the latter, lighter style made by Hudson-Chatham Winery in Ghent, New York, Columbia County&#39;s first winery, which opened to the public in 2007. The winemaking philosophies of the winery - history, terroir, dirt, rocks, fruit, and wine - are showcased magnificently through its selection of Baco Noirs. I am especially enamored with how Hudson-Chatham handcrafts these wines with minimal intervention, unfiltered and unfined, which renders a rusticity that cannot be ignored. Combine that with its characteristic tart berry flavors, spice, minerality, and vibrant acidity, you have a delicious, masterful wine. When you seek out Baco Noir, Hudson-Chatham should be the first stop on your journey. However, once you have tasted theirs, the bar has been set and other examples may find themselves in the shadow of Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Elizabeth Smith</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Traveling Wine Chick</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Baco Noir</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Baco Noir is a hybrid of the folle blanche grape used for French cognac, and the vitis riperia (riverbank grape) native to the North American midwest. The vitis riperia has a hearty roots that are resistant to phylloxera and leafy foliage that resist mildew and black rot, so it was a chosen as robust rootstock for French grapes capable of producing wine. Baco Noir is a grape variety I first tried in Canada. It tasted local, was easy to enjoy, and I was intrigued by the flavor profile and the capability of regional wines, cultivated and created in harsher environments than pinot noir. The result is a medium bodied, rustic red wine, deeply tinted in color, that is high in acidity. The wines often exhibit flavors of red and blue plums and berries, sometimes with an essence of cedar or wildflower, capable of maturing nicely in oak. And in Northern regions, they can survive challenging growing conditions and colder climates. Easily found in the Ontario Canada, Hudson Valley, and Finger Lakes wine regions to name just a few.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jim van Bergen</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>JvBUncorked</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Charbano</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Winter weather finds certain grape varieties in my glass that don&rsquo;t often appear there in the summer months; one of them is Charbono. There are less than 100 acres under vine of this grape in California which is a lot more than you&rsquo;ll find planted anywhere else. While it&rsquo;s a cult grape today it has a history of higher prominence. Up until 1989 there was a Charbono Society that held dinners in and around Napa Valley. Over the last decade handfuls of additional producers have either made an occasional Charbono in the years they can get fruit, or in a few cases planted some and added it to their regular portfolio, albeit in fairly small quantities. The standard bearer of Charbono and the winery with the highest case production has for some years now been Summers in Calistoga. Their Charbono is available nationally and does a wonderful job representing this grape. The hallmarks that speak to me are the combination of juicy, dark fruits and firm backbone of acid. When handled appropriately this leads to a wine that is appealing in its youth when it&rsquo;s full of boisterous and often brooding fruit flavors, as well as eminently positioned to age, often for decades. Summers 2014 Estate Charbono ($35) is grown on their property in Calistoga. This vintage has the classic characteristics that Charbono disciples crave. Black plum and spice leap from the nose. Blackberry and blueberry are joined by bits of black olive and copious spice notes on the palate. The long, firm finish shows off all of those characteristics as well as hints of sweet dark chocolate and a final dollop of blueberry. It&rsquo;s incredibly appealing now but it&rsquo;ll morph in appealing manners over the next 15-20 years.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Gabe Sasso</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Gabe&rsquo;s View</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Encruzado</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Last year I enjoyed one of the most memorable white wines I&rsquo;ve ever had; the 2008 Torre de Tavares Encruzado D&atilde;o. The wine was elaborated from what is arguably Portugal&rsquo;s finest white wine grape; Encruzado.&nbsp; You&rsquo;ve never heard of the Encruzado grape?&nbsp; Neither had I!&nbsp; It is an indigenous light-skinned grape variety grown almost exclusively in the D&atilde;o region of northern Portugal. It&rsquo;s a grape variety that performs well in the vineyard producing grapes with balanced sugar and acidity. It is well suited to the D&atilde;o, where the grapes benefit from the diurnal temperature variation associated with higher altitudes. There it is used in blends and, increasingly varietal wines. If handled with TLC, Encruzado produces highly perfumed, elegant and complex wines with an apricot, quince, green citrus, floral, light spice and herbal character that are very fresh with an exceptional waxy mouthfeel. The wines can age well for decades. It may be a challenge to track down a bottle of Encruzado, but if you&rsquo;re looking for a white wine that may evoke distinguished white Burgundies while exhibiting its own unique character, I bet you&rsquo;ll find it is worth the effort!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Martin Redmond</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>ENOFYLZ Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Furmint</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> For those unfamiliar with Furmint, I highly recommend kick-starting the new year with this white grape variety. Furmint is native to the Tokaj region of Hungary. It is the main grape used in making the world-famous and deliciously satisfying botrytized dessert wines the region is renowned for. What is not well known is Furmint is vinified into a refreshing dry white wine, too -- one that is worthy of your attention. Like Riesling, Furmint has naturally high levels of acidity. High acidity is required in dessert wines to balance the residual sugars; otherwise, the wine will be sickly sweet and cloying. As a drier-style table wine, Furmint is lively and crisp and a natural partner to a wide range of foods. My pick for this post is B&eacute;res 2014 Tokaji Dry Furmint. This wine is bright and fresh with stone fruit and melon flavors joined by a slight nuttiness, citrus pith and an appealing mineral edge that surfaces towards the back-end. There is some richness in the texture that&rsquo;s propped up by racy acidity that carries through to the vibrant, clean finish. I hope you can find this wine; I think you will like it! If you cannot find it, the next time you visit your local wine shop ask if they carry any Dry Furmint. If you find something you really enjoy, please share it with us in the comment section. Thanks for reading and I hope the new year is off to a great start for you!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Dezel Quillen</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>My Vine Spot</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Godello</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> There is a reason why a smaller number of Spanish growers rallied to save the Godello grape a few decades ago when it almost disappeared. Godello is a white variety of grape growth in Northwestern Spain (also thought to be the same as the Gouveio grape in Portugal). It has been described as akin to chardonnay but I think that it transforms with a little air in the glass &ndash; to me, it&rsquo;s a mix somewhere between a chenin blanc, viognier and chardonnay. It has texture, floral notes, complexity, honeysuckle, citrus and a great minerality. I first discovered Godello on a #olewinos press trip to Bierzo and I have yet to find a bottle that doesn&rsquo;t keep me guessing on which grape is best reflected.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Melanie Ofenloch</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>DallasWineChick</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Limnio</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Everything old is new again and Limnio, a wonderful Greek grape, though today elusive to US consumers, was famous in the world of Aristotle. He wrote about Limnio comparing its flavor to oregano. Cultivated first on the island of Lemnos, which gives Limnio its name, the grapes tend to produce higher alcohol wines with herbaceous notes, berry characteristics and interesting textures.&nbsp; I tried it in a blend called &quot;Avaton&quot; produced by Ktima Gerovasilliou. &quot;Ktima&quot; means &quot;estate&quot; in Greek. Ktima Gerovasilliou is a 138 acre parcel close to Thessalonika at the edge of the Epanomi wine region and somewhat adjacent to the Northern Aegean location of Lemnos.&nbsp; &ldquo;Avaton&rdquo; ($60) is made up of more than 50% Limnio with 25% Mavrotragano and 20% Mavroudi, which are all red Greek grapes. The resulting blend brings together the best from all its varieties into a luscious (and easy to pronounce) wine with earth, tobacco, plum and berry flavors and aromas.&nbsp; Aging in oak foudres enhances the texture. This wine is a perfect match for wintry dishes like game, stews and best of all grilled lamb. Look for this eternally modern wine to enjoy &ldquo;new wave&rdquo; history in a glass.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Liza Swift</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>BrixChicks</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Marquette</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> One of my personal wine intentions for 2017 is to expand my palate by exploring wines made from lesser-known varieties like Aidani, Godello, Fer Servadou, Nerello Mascalese, and hybrid grapes like Marquette. Hybrid grape varieties are often dismissed by oenophiles for producing foxy or one-dimensional wines (understandable in many cases). A committed group of farmers are helping to change the perception of hybrid grapes by making compelling wines made from these grapes. One of the most promising hybrids is a cold hardy hybrid red grape called Marquette. Developed at the University of Minnesota and introduced in 2006, Marquette is a cross between two other hybrids and is a descendent of Pinot Noir. Well made Marquette wines tend to be fresh, juicy, fairly high in acid with notes dark cherry and spice. One of the most compelling wines made from Marquette I&rsquo;ve enjoyed is called Damejeanne from La Garagista Farm + Winery in Vermont (yes, Vermont!). With a focus on organic and biodynamic farming, La Garagista is a small yet amazing farm and winery that offers some of the most impressive wines made from hybrid grapes. The 2013 Damejeanne (includes 10% La Crescent) is fresh, juicy, offering notes cherry, spice and hints of earth. Balanced with lovely bright cherry acidity; delicious! La Garagista wines sell out as fast as they are made and are difficult to find so look for quality Marquette wines from Lincoln Peak Winery (Vermont) and Champoux Vineyards/Powers (Washington).<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Frank Morgan</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Drink What YOU Like</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Pineau d&rsquo;Aunis</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Sometimes in reading about a grape variety or varietal wine my interest is piqued and I go on a hunt to find that wine. The hunt becomes part of the fun of the discovery. Other times a new wine comes to me. Literally. It&rsquo;s just poured into my wine glass. That&rsquo;s what happened recently at a wine tasting when I was poured a glass of Pineau d&rsquo;Aunis. Pineau what? Pineau d&rsquo;Aunis (pronounced Pee-no Doh-nee) is red variety grown in several central Loire Valley appellations in France, perhaps since the 9th century. I&rsquo;ve read a couple of theories as to where the variety originated and how it got its name. In any event, Pineau d&rsquo;Aunis is not widely planted. It is unrelated to Pinot Noir and sometimes called Chenin Noir in the Loire Valley even though is unrelated to Chenin Blanc, a star of the appellation. Pineau d&rsquo;Aunis is used to make red, white, ros&eacute; and sparkling wines. I came home from the wine tasting with a bottle of that Pineau d&rsquo;Aunis, Pascal Janvier 2015 Coteaux du Loir Rouge &ldquo;Cuv&eacute;e du Rosier&rdquo;. It is translucent ruby in the glass with aromas of black pepper, cedar and red fruit which are immediate and generous. Pomegranate and dried cherry flavors are liberally seasoned with the same black pepper and cedar so evident in the aromas. The body is light and tannins are drying and significant. Flavors and tannins last a very long time. It is contemplative, intriguing and complex. It was delicious on a chilly winter evening and it will be amazing on a warm summer afternoon as well. Intrigued? I hope so, and I hope your hunt will become part of the fun of a new wine discovery for you. Cheers!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Nancy Brazil</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Pull that Cork</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Ribolla Gialla</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Even though it&rsquo;s winter &ndash; I&rsquo;m actually writing this as I defrost from making a snow angel in 10F (-12C) NYC winter weather &ndash; I&rsquo;m going to recommend an obscure white grape with zing: Ribolla Gialla. It is an ancient variety, first mentioned in 1296, and can be made sparkling, orange or typically light, dry and still. But what makes this quite special, in my mind, when made well, is that it can give floral notes and rich aromatics of honey yet has a bracing acidity that is exhilarating. Right now I&rsquo;m drinking a 2014 Ascevi Luwa Cer&ograve;u Ronco Superiore Ribolla Gialla, from its traditional home of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy. It has a beautiful honeysuckle, white pepper nose with a distinctive honeycomb flavor with hints of lemon zest, a saline minerality and a bracing acidity that made me giggle with delight like a little schoolgirl. Last October, I was fortunate enough to taste a sparkling Ribolla Gialla from Piera Martellozzo, called 075 Carati. As you can imagine, its flavors and acidity went well with a sparkling style &ndash; but I&rsquo;m afraid they don&rsquo;t have distribution in the US yet. Finally, it makes the most famous orange wine in the world. Josko Gravner&rsquo;s Anfora is Ribolla Gialla that has extended skin contact while fermented in clay amphora. It is orange in color with golden tints &ndash; striking in flavor profile as well as color. Life can still be surprising, fun and spontaneous &ndash; like an impetuous decision to fling oneself into the snow, or to grab an obscure white wine to drink when it&rsquo;s way below freezing out. Life does not have to be the same old, same old, so make that leap and buy the wine that challenges your comfort zone. Happy winter drinking!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cathrine Todd</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dame Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Rkatsiteli</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> I was in California to speak at a wine tourism conference. During the opening night reception, I was making my way around the room intentionally tasting wines I had not encountered before. Someone suggested I go by the Georgia table. I am from Georgia - Macon Georgia - the land of fresh peaches, boiled peanuts, and traditional manners. I thought, of course I would go over and say &ldquo;Hey.&rdquo; But these were wines from Georgia - the Kakheti region of Georgia - the land of buried qvevri (clay fermentation vessels), the land where winemaking began.&nbsp; I was standing in front of the line up from Pheasant&rsquo;s Tears&nbsp; and I was about to put something very ancient, yet very novel (to me) in my mouth. Before &ldquo;orange wines&rdquo; were trendy, like since 6000 BC, vintners in Georgia were leaving juice in skin contact (red and white) and adding in ripe stems. Wines are fermented and aged underground in the beeswax lined qvevri. What results are wines of complexity, texture, and layers of almost familiar wine notes in a concentrated, savoriness that hints at their exotic history. Wines you do not simply taste, but you experience. Fairly widely distributed, you can actually get your hands on Pheasant&rsquo;s Tears wines in the U.S. I walked away with a recipe and a bottle of Rkatsiteli, a dry full-bodied white wine from a grape of the same name. (retail $20ish) I look forward to reliving its honeyed nuttiness. I will share notes on the pairing the next season heirloom tomatoes are available.&nbsp; For more on Georgia wines I recommend the book, For the Love of Wine: My Odyssey Through the World&rsquo;s Most Ancient Wine Culture by Alice Feiring.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jade Helm, DWS, CS, CSW</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong></strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Susumaniello</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This New Wave grape is ancient. Susumaniello hails from Salento in Apulia, at the heel of Italy&rsquo;s boot. It&rsquo;s grown almost exclusively around the town of Brindisi, often finding its way into rustic blends with confederates like Negroamaro, Primitivo, and Malvasia Nera. But it&rsquo;s now being made as a varietal wine, and Tenute Rubino, which I visited in September 2016, produces two versions that show the fruit&rsquo;s flexibility. Their Torre Testa is dense and plummy, with a coffee-steeped body and ornaments of barrel spice. Meanwhile Oltrem&eacute; is its un-oaked, youthful counterpart, jazzed with red fruits and sprung with pliant tannins. (Rubino even makes a sparkling Susumaniello, regrettably not imported.) A refreshing piquancy runs through these wines, proving Susumaniello a versatile companion to the region&rsquo;s fare: the ripe, savory, and olive-oil-saturated.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Meg Houston Maker</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Maker&#39;s Table</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Teran</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> When it comes to obscure grape varietals, there are literally hundreds that you could select from. If you look to any of my fellow wine writers that have shared their thoughts here, you can see that many of us are members (or aspiring members) of the Century Club; this unique society requires us to go out and seek unusual and lesser known varietals.&nbsp; My favorite obscure varietal is one I discovered while on a trip in Croatia &ndash; Teran.&nbsp; Known as Terrano in Italy, of which the Istrian peninsula was once part of, Teran is a dark and meaty grape that reminds me of Touriga Nacional.&nbsp; Classically, it was the workhorse grape behind the Yugoslovian bulk wine, which wineries were forced to produce.&nbsp; Today Teran is making a resurgence as an elegant, powerful red wine. With rich black fruit, spice, and earth, it is the perfect companion for a steak or duck dishes and will keep you warm on a winter night. Recently, Slovenia has come on the scene with sparkling Teran, similar in style to Australian sparkling Shiraz. This sparkling red wine is savory, meaty, and herbal in nature and makes for a delicious interlude with any meal.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Thea Dwelle</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Luscious Lushes Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Trousseau</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> If you&rsquo;re looking for a new palate adventure, check out wines made from Trousseau. This red grape hails from the Jura region of France, and is grown in appellations like Arbois and the Cotes du Jura. In Portugal, it goes by the hilarious varietal name Bastardo, and has also been used in Madeira wine. It likes heat and sunshine, but it&rsquo;s unique in its tart, fresh, funky, sour red fruited appeal. These are not dense, viscous wines full of oak-influence and jammy fruit; think of them as reds to pair with cured meats and olive spreads, veggies, or even baked fish or chicken. Trousseau tends to show a wilder range of flavors like tart strawberry, sour cherry, black tea, pepper, pickle and sage. Jura Trousseau is a must for those who enjoy the &ldquo;natural wine&rdquo; notion, but there are some really cool iterations coming out of California, notably from producers like Copain, Arnot-Roberts, and Sandlands.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Isaac James Baker</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Reading, Writing &amp; Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Vranec</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The new wave yet, beginning to get discovered grape that I chose comes from emerging Macedonia. The red wine grape, Vranec, also known as, &#39;The Black Stallion&#39; or &#39;Black Grape&#39; has a reputation for being potent.&nbsp; When used as a blending grape with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, the aromatics of strawberries and red cherries create a seducing aroma. On its own, again, the aromatics lure you into sampling the complex, fruity grape that has a licorice and cocoa backbone. It&#39;s dark color and powerful fruit make Vranec a contender as a &#39;New Wave Grape.&#39;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Philip Kampe</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>The Wine Hub</strong></a></p> Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article6891