Snooth - Articles Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Tue, 25 Oct 2016 11:51:23 -0400 Tue, 25 Oct 2016 11:51:23 -0400 Snooth Lodi Is Changing The Way We Think About Wine Claudia Angelillo <p>There&rsquo;s no doubt about it: The wines of Lodi, California, have won the hearts and palates of wine drinkers everywhere. (In case you haven&rsquo;t heard, the region was named Region of Year by Wine Enthusiast in 2015.) Lodi is the region next door you&rsquo;ve always liked, but after a few years it has become evident that she is &ldquo;the one&rdquo;.&nbsp; And you don&rsquo;t just love her for her Zinfandel. There&rsquo;s so much more to Lodi, and you&rsquo;re still discovering new things about her every day. She&rsquo;s got over one hundred grape varieties under vine, and she&rsquo;s doing cool new things all the time. Snooth corraled a group of six wine writers for a three-day Lodi immersion experience. The event culminated in a virtual tasting on Snooth&#39;s custom platform. The tasting was designed to showcase Lodi&#39;s undersung varietals. <strong><a href="">Click here to watch the tape.</a> </strong>Read on for more about how Lodi is changing the way we think about wine in America.&nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Pictured: Lodi&rsquo;s historic Becthold Vineyard. These Cinsault vines were first planted in 1886.&nbsp;Photo credit: Randy Caparoso, <a href=""></a></strong><br /> </p> Thu, 13 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6848 Prosecco Has Become The Default Bubbly John Downes <p>Prosecco has taken the world of wine by storm but my friends know my thoughts on this popular Italian sparkler&hellip;.Pay The Extra Quid (PTEQ!)&hellip;that&rsquo;s &lsquo;PTED&rsquo; (dime) the U.S. of course; there are some very average bottles of Prosecco on our shelves.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Prosecco is from northeast Italy, more precisely from five Veneto provinces (Treviso, Venice, Vicenza, Padua, Belluno) and four provinces of Friuli Venezia Giulia (Gorizia, Pordenone, Trieste and Udine). The vineyards are well worth visiting for their stunning beauty as well as their wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Across the Venetian plains there&rsquo;s been an explosion of new plantings of Glera, the Prosecco grape, over recent years. The explosion&rsquo;s been so loud that between 2008 and 2011 Glera vines almost doubled to 21 000 hectares; that&rsquo;s over a quarter of Veneto&rsquo;s total vineyard area! To increase the noise, U.K. sales value was up a massive 70% last year whilst the U.K. and the U.S. each knocked back over 30 million bottles. You have to heap marketing praise on the region for within just a few years, Prosecco has become the default bubbly.<br /> Star grape Glera has to account for at least 85% of the wine, the other permitted grape varieties being Verdiso, Bianchetta, Trevigiana, Perera, Glera Lunga, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Nero. Just in case you&rsquo;re wondering, I hadn&rsquo;t heard of some of these varieties either!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The better &lsquo;cost a few quid more&rsquo; bottles are from vineyards located in the superior D.O.C.G. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata Garantita) vineyards in the nearly-unpronounceable Conegliano-Valdobbiadene hills of the Veneto about an hour&rsquo;s drive north of Venice. A quick tip with these long words; do what the Italians do, &lsquo;speak with your hands&rsquo;, it really does help with the pronunciation!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The D.O.C.G. vineyards are on the superior limestone-rich hillside slopes as opposed to the heavier clay valley plain, the latter taking on the D.O.C. label. The moral of the story? Look out for the &lsquo;G&rsquo; and PTEQ. For the statisticians, about 280 million bottles of D.O.C. are produced every year compared to just 80 million bottles of D.O.C.G., &ldquo;we will produce 360 million bottles in 2015&rdquo;, Stefano Zanette, President of the Prosecco DOC Consortium, predicted last year. To their credit, the Proscecco producers realise that these titles are confusing and to lead us towards better quality are helpfully labeling the superior D.O.C.G. wines &ldquo;Superiore&rdquo;. Bravo!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> As well as holding better soils, the hillside slopes are key to producing higher quality grapes (and therefore higher quality wine) as they also command better exposure to the sun. The higher altitudes are also good news as they introduce cooler temperatures and wider day-night temperature differentials to bring crisper acidity into the quality equation.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Prosecco is made by the Charmat Method, (called Martinotti in Italy), where the second fermentation occurs within a temperature controlled closed tank (sealed to keep the bubbles in), as opposed to Champagne which undergoes its second fermentation in a sealed bottle. The result is 11-12% alcohol by volume, light coloured sparkler with fresh, primary pear, apple, aromas and flavours.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> If you&rsquo;re feeling rich you can shell out for a D.O.C.G. Prosecco from the prestigious, tiny (107 hectare) vineyard sub zone of Cartizze where the grapes grow on top soils and the steepest slopes of the region. It&rsquo;s a spanking good sparkler. Think of it as the &lsquo;Grand Cru&rsquo; of Prosecco.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I&rsquo;ve been told that Snoothers across the world often entertain each other matching their best wines with wonderful food and pouring interesting reception sparklers to set the mood. Prosecco will no doubt feature bigtime in these aperitif stakes. After reading this piece, your guests may be thinking PTEQ? You can blame me for that but hopefully you&rsquo;ll be able to say &ldquo;yes&rdquo;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 350 Masters of Wine in the world is a corporate entertainer, speaker, television and radio broadcaster and writer on wine.<br /><br /> Check out John&rsquo;s website at&nbsp;<a href=""><strong></strong></a>.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Follow him on Twitter <a href=""><strong>@JOHNDOWNESMW</strong></a></em></p> Fri, 07 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6851 Wine Lovers Buzz About #GarnachaDay Snooth Editorial <p>It has become clear that wine drinkers are demanding varietal wines beyond the strongholds we&#39;ve seen on shelves and menus for decades. Let&#39;s face it; there was a palate gap in the United States&#39; most commonly consumed varietals. That gap has been bridged by Garnacha. Not a single other commonly consumed grape brings the same level of crowd-pleasing versatility and broad array of fresh and accessible flavors. It&#39;s the quintessential red wine for white wine drinkers. Garnacha&#39;s resurgence as a varietal wine is attributable to a group of hardworking, innovative growers and winemakers in Eastern Spain (in the DOs of Calatayud, Campo de Borja, Cari&ntilde;ena, Somontano and Terra Alta)&nbsp; -- the grape&#39;s ancestral home. They are dedicated to preserving old vines, keeping yields low, and experimenting with the latest winemaking trends. Last month, in celebration of #GarnachaDay 2016, Master Sommelier Laura Maniec sat down with Master of Wine Christy Canterbury live on Snooth to taste through a selection of Spanish Garnacha from the four key DOs. Members of the wine writing community tuned in live to taste the wines along with them, and their reactions were strong. <a href=""><strong>If you missed the virtual tasting, click here to view it now.</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Read on to learn more about the wine writing community&#39;s thoughts about #GarnachaDay, and why this grape is filling glass after glass around the world.<br /> The four wines tasted during Snooth&#39;s #GarnachaDay virtual tasting are listed below, along with commentary from some of the attending wine writers.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In the words of <a href=""><strong>Michelle Williams (Rockin&#39; Red Blog)</strong></a>, &quot;Garnacha is a like your favorite Labrador, it is friendly, easy to get along with and pleases everyone.&quot; So when you are shopping for a diverse crowd, try one of these wines. They&#39;re all available in local retail stores at incredible values. And as <a href=""><strong>The Wine Hub&#39;s Philip Kampe</strong></a> points out: &quot;Why not take your five wine Spanish Garnacha journey? The total cost for five bottles was $54.&quot;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Clos Dalian Garnatxa Blanca 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Indeed, White Garnacha does exist. It may also be referred to as Garnacha Blanca or Garnatxa Blanca. Varietal White Garnacha isn&rsquo;t terribly common, but it&rsquo;s something in which DO Terra Alta specializes and excels. <a href=""><strong>The Nittany Epicurean</strong></a> describes a &quot;bouquet of apple and lemon&quot; on the nose of this wine, while <a href=""><strong>SAHMmelier</strong></a> speaks of the wine&#39;s little sparkle of lemon and sunshine with a touch of salinity. <a href=""><strong>Talk-A-Vino</strong></a> reminds us that the majority of virtual tasting attendees concur: this is the ideal oyster wine. October ends in an &#39;R&#39;, so now is the time to <em>shuck</em> your friends with this fantastic pairing!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>La Miranda de Secastilla Blanca 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Our second example of Garnacha Blanca hails from DO Somontano. The grapes in DO Somontano grow among the snow-capped Pyrenees, more than seven hundred meters above sea level. <a href=""><strong>Snooth&#39;s own Gabe Sasso</strong></a>&nbsp; found petrol, toasted hazelnut and linseed oil aromas lighting up the nose. This wine has four months in French oak under its belt, and complex aromas are present. <a href=""><strong>Isaac James Baker</strong></a> gave the wine 90 points,&nbsp; relating aromatics of apricots, pears, glazed apple, honeyed tea, white flowers, almond and sea salt. If you are into creamier white wines, this one is for you. Do you have an aversion to any mention of oak? Don&#39;t worry, there&#39;s no need to steer clear. <a href=""><strong>VT Wine Media&#39;s Todd Trzaskos</strong></a> notes the&nbsp; &quot;...use of oak shows only as a gauze in the air that rises from the glass.&quot;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Castillo de Monseran Garnacha Cari&ntilde;ena 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This wine, intended for young drinking, comes to us from Cari&ntilde;ena. <a href=""><strong>Cliff Brown</strong></a> speaks of its &quot;hypnotic nose...blackberries, crushed stones, white pepper, cherries, dry underbrush, violets and warm baking spices.&quot; <a href=""><strong>Wannabe Wino</strong></a> deems this a &quot;dark wine&quot; with notes of &quot;blueberry, pie, leather, and cranberry&quot; on the nose and &quot;blueberry, tea, dark strawberry and blackberry&quot; in the mouth. <a href=""><strong>Cheap Wine Ratings</strong></a> says, &quot;If you like lively, fruity, spicy Garnacha there&rsquo;s a good chance you&rsquo;ll dig this one.&quot; What&#39;s not to dig about any wine from Cari&ntilde;ena? The region has a rich and storied history of winemaking dating back to the Roman era. Suffice it to say, the region knows what it&#39;s doing. Try pairing this with an array of dark chocolate. Cacao percentages should vary. Observe how the rising and falling bitterness levels effect this wine&#39;s fruit flavors.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Evodia Garnacha 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Somm in the City</strong></a> finds that this Calatayud Garnacha takes well to its slate soils. She calls the wine &quot;inky purple...boasting purple flowers, plum, and currants with mineral laced notes.&quot; Remember, in Calatayud your Garnacha is grown among plantations of almond, cherry, olive, apple, pear and peach trees. The spirit of nearby crops is alive in this Garnacha. It&#39;s also a pretty pairing wine.<a href=""><strong> The AdviceSisters&#39; John Dunham</strong></a> suggests that it will &quot;work with stronger foods, like steak, or pork shoulder&quot;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Garnacha Centenaria 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>JvB UnCorked</strong></a> likens this Campo de Borja gem to a concerto, with &quot;gentle and delightful red cherries&quot; at the start, &quot;...slowly... joined by allspice, black pepper, stone and clay...&quot; and &quot;...a triumphant swirl into the apex of the movement...notes of rose bush, red pepper, leather, and spice box.&quot; <a href=""><strong>Enofylz </strong></a>also champions this selection, bringing the wine&#39;s &quot;red currant, mulberry, black cherry, plum and spice flavors&quot; to the fore. <a href=""><strong>Vino Travels</strong></a> claimed this as her top wine for two consecutive vintages (2013 and 2014), pointing to its complexity and long orange notes. Campo de Borja is a haven of old vines; the oldest ones date back to 1145, The wisdom of the ages is evident in your glass. Check out <a href=""><strong>Tasting Pour&#39;s</strong></a> perfect pairing (plus recipe): Collard, Shrimp, and Chicken Thigh Spanish/Southern Fusion.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The most common finding among #GarnachaDay&#39;s virtual tasters? It&#39;s delicious value with a capital V. When you choose a bottle of Garnacha or Garnacha Blanca from one of the five key PDOs, you know you&#39;re getting an expertly crafted bottle from the grapes&rsquo; native land. The wines are made by people who take care to ensure that the grapes reach their full potential in the comfort of their own home. What&#39;s more, these wines don&rsquo;t break the bank. Pick up one of some of them, and <a href=""><strong>watch the virtual tasting video to learn even more</strong></a>.</p> Mon, 03 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6847 Wine That Says “Count On Me” Mark Angelillo <p>When he started Kendall-Jackson Winery thirty-two years ago, Jess Jackson&#39;s vision was that everyone should have access to a luxury bottle of wine, wherever or whoever they are. The goal was to make premium wines at accessible prices. Judging by the scope and scale of Kendall-Jackson today, we can all agree he made good on his vision. Kendall-Jackson, affectionately known as &ldquo;K-J&rdquo;, may be one of the first wines you ever loved. The operation has grown considerably since its first eighty acre orchard purchased in 1974. And not despite, but perhaps in spite of this growth, Kendall Jackson continues to produce some of the best value priced bottles coming out of California today. These are reliable, dependable, timeless wines. You can always count on them to deliver what you need. The question is: how does a large scale operation like Kendall-Jackson make this profound consistency and quality a reality?<br /> Randy is how. I had a chance to sit down with Randy Ullom, Winemaster at Kendall-Jackson, during the calm before the excitement of their 20th annual Heirloom Tomato Festival. One of my first questions was &quot;What is a Winemaster?&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Randy has a big job. He oversees wine making, blending and wine growing for all of Kendall-Jackson&rsquo;s winemakers and grower teams up and down the coast from Sonoma to Santa Barbara. After twenty-four harvests he&#39;s very much up to the task, and he projects his relaxed confidence with the role and in the teams with whom he works. For Randy, harvest is a favorite part of the job, when he travels up and down the coast, visiting the vines, tasting lots and organizing the huge effort required to get all of the grapes picked and safely to the presses at exactly the right time.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I was lucky enough to share some of what Randy calls &ldquo;breakfast wine&rdquo;. In this case it was a glass of <a href=""><strong>Jackson Estate Camelot Highlands Chardonnay 2014 from the Santa Maria Valley in Santa Barbara</strong></a>. It&rsquo;s a breakfast wine because, quite simply, there&rsquo;s a bowl of fruit in the glass. The fruit is so powerful that it leaps to the nose. Furthermore, it received 91 points from Wine Spectator.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Randy also says the Santa Maria Bench is the Filet Mignon of Santa Barbara County, and is genuinely excited about the wines he can produce from the region. He wants these wines to be full of approachable fruit but also creamy. His team stirs the lees every two weeks to ensure the finished product matches their intention. It&#39;s a lovely wine with cool fruit notes of peach and mango and a soft creamy finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Randy&#39;s winemaking strategy at Kendall-Jackson is to produce wines with full-on ripeness, that are fruit forward and rich, voluptuous, with developed aromas and flavors that leap from the glass and beckon for another sip. The process is a never-ending endeavor, and during harvest the challenge is to get the grapes from the vine to the presses as fast as possible. All of the grapes are pressed locally to where they are grown, but eventually the juice travels to Sonoma where bottling happens every day of the year.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Kendall-Jackson produces five levels of wine: Stature, Jackson Estate, Grand Reserve, Vintner&#39;s Reserve, and K-J Avant. Each level is suited to a particular day of the week, from Tuesday night&rsquo;s K-J Avant California Sauvignon Blanc with Cajun Chicken Stew and Netflix, to Saturday night&rsquo;s Stature Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon with candle-lit Beef Tenderloin on a white-clothed table. Each bottle gives you exactly what you want, when you want it. It&#39;s humbling to consider the scope of operations that would support an effort at this scale with such consistent quality. But like any superior leader, Randy won&rsquo;t let on how integral to this process he truly is.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Heirloom Tomato Festival itself is lively and bustling already by the time we begin talking about it. After 20 years, the event is refined and impeccably delivered. Restaurants from the area share foods prepared from their best tomato recipes. We sampled tomato inspired lobster rolls, chocolate covered cherry tomatoes and vanilla bean ice cream with tomato jam. The center of the event sports a large tent with one hundred and fifty varieties of heirloom tomato, diced and served raw with fleur de sel. Attendees are invited to vote for their favorite tomato to win best in show. It&rsquo;s well worth scheduling your visit to wine country around this particular event.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The festival was started in the Kendall-Jackson tomato gardens and has grown into a food and wine show that brings fans and wine club members from miles to enjoy the day under the tents. The wine is of course flowing freely. Randy&#39;s suggestion is to match the color of the tomato with the color of the wine. For green tomatoes, try Sauvignon Blanc. For the yellow gold varieties, Chardonnay. Merlot goes with the yellow red and medium red tomatoes, and finally the purple/black/deep red tomatoes are good for Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. Tomatoes are still abundant right now, so it&rsquo;s not too late to try something like this at home.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This isn&rsquo;t the end of Kendall-Jackson&rsquo;s story. Under Randy&rsquo;s leadership, their wine program is continuing to evolve. Look for an expansion in K-J&rsquo;s Ros&eacute; program to account for the growing demand of this popular style. Randy and his team are also are working on a Pinot Noir that will carry the new Petaluma Gap appellation on the bottle. Petaluma Gap is not an AVA yet, Randy says, but it will be soon. Keep your eyes on the bottle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>What are your favorite dependable wines? Which producers can you count on to give you what you want, when you want it? Let us know in the comments.</strong></p> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6846 Put These Sonoma Wines on Your Radar Gabe Sasso <p>Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is an event filled with terrific wine and food from Sonoma County -- for a cause. Over two hundred wineries and sixty local chefs come together to raise funds for local non-profits in the environment, health, and literacy fields. Top chefs and winemakers band together to create a gustatory tour of what Sonoma County has to offer. A variety of events took place over Labor Day weekend at some of California&rsquo;s most beloved wineries. These are names with which you are surely familiar. <a href=""><strong>Francis Ford Coppola</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>MacMurray Estate Vineyards</strong></a> (which sits on the MacMurray Ranch property previously owned by the late actor Fred MacMurray), and one of Sonoma&rsquo;s most picturesque properties, <a href=""><strong>Chateau St. Jean</strong></a>, are all part of the fabric of modern day American wine history. These wineries, vineyards, and the event itself, remind us how much the region has grown and evolved over the last century. Sonoma is without a doubt an integral part of our wine heritage.<br /> At the heart of the weekend was a charitable auction of thirty eight lots ranging from bottle collections to travel experiences and private dining. Over four million dollars were raised, a massive success which should be loudly applauded! In the process of raising money for great causes, many outstanding wines were poured. I was fortunate enough to sample some of them. Here&rsquo;s a look at my favorites.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau St. Jean 2014 Robert Young Chardonnay</strong></a> ($25)<br /><br /> Robert Young Vineyard, where the fruit for this wine was sourced, is one of the most iconic Chardonnay vineyards in Sonoma County. Roasted nut and golden delicious apple aromas light up the nose. Concentrated yellow fruit flavors dominate the palate. Continued apples, bits of cr&egrave;me fraiche and a boatload of spice are apparent on the above average finish. Most striking about this Chardonnay is the rich, luxurious mouthfeel.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Martin Ray 2015 Clone 809 Russian River Valley Chardonnay</strong></a> ($35)<br /><br /> A mere 120 cases of this single clone Chardonnay were produced. From the first whiff to the last sip it&rsquo;s simply stuffed with an avalanche of fresh fruit flavors. Granny Smith Apple and Anjou pear are of particular note. A cornucopia of minerals and a sprinkling of spices dot the memorable finish. This is a very specific, special, and delicious expression of Chardonnay. This Clone 809 Chardonnay is so full of pure fruit and at the same time remarkably proportionate. Think of this offering as a sneak peek into the exciting things going on at Martin Ray theses days.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Pedroncelli 2014 Bench Vineyards Merlot</strong></a> ($17)<br /><br /> Pedroncelli has a portfolio loaded with wines that are easy on the wallet for the quality they offer and delicious to drink. This Merlot is among that number. Violet end fleshy black fruit aromas fill the nose. Red and black fruit flavors dominate the mouth-filling palate along with plenty of spice notes. Crushed red cherry and a wisp of dusty dark chocolate are present on the above average finish. The Pedroncelli Family has been crushing it in Dry Creek Valley for nearly 90 years, if their wines aren&rsquo;t already on your radar, they should be.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>MacMurray Ranch 2014 Russian River Valley Reserve Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($35)<br /><br /> The Pinot Noir for this wine came from three vineyards, including the Estate Ranch. Gentle wisps of violet, toast and red fruit emerge from the nose. Mushroom, tobacco, bay leaf and red cherry flavors fill the substantial palate. The finish is above average and loaded with spices, dried fruit and a dollop of earthiness. This is a tasty and pretty example of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Collier Falls 2012 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel</strong></a> ($36)<br /><br /> From his property in the heart of Dry Creek Valley Barry Collier produces an outstanding portfolio of small lot wines. Year after year that includes one of the best Zinfandels money can buy. Raspberry and blackberry aromas leap with conviction from the nose here. The palate is loaded with strawberry, black pepper and continued raspberry references. The finish is long, spicy and complex with more fruit and a healthy dusting of sweet cocoa. If you want to know what Zinfandel really tastes like, this a perfect place to start.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Camlow Cellars 2013 Magna Porcum Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($45)<br /><br /> This limited production, Estate Grown, Russian River Valley Pinot is poised to be the next Cult Pinot out of California. All of the fruit came from &ldquo;Big Pig,&rdquo; their estate vineyard which is planted to four clones of Pinot. Blackberry and hints of black tea waft from the welcoming nose. Boysenberry, leather and gentle bits of earth dot the deeply layered and elegant palate. The persistent, mouthwatering finish shows off sour red fruits, a bevy of spices and a sprinkling of earth. This Pinot Noir would be a fair deal at twice the price, it&rsquo;s that good. My advice is to buy some and also get on their mailing list while it&rsquo;s still possible.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>ACORN 2013 Medley</strong></a> ($48)<br /><br /> ACORN Winery, located in Russian River Valley and very close to Dry Creek Valley is one of the jewels in the crown of Sonoma County. From their Estate Vineyard they produce gorgeous wines. Each vineyard block is planted as a field blend, so every wine has much more than the named variety in it. Medley is a blend of the best vineyard lots and represents Alegria Vineyards as a whole. It&rsquo;s composed of Syrah, Zinfandel, Cinsault, Sangiovese, Muscats, Viognier, Dolcetto, Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, and more. Taken as a piece the ACORN wines are remarkably balanced, acid rich, food friendly offerings that age well. This vintage of Medley fits that bill to a tee. The nose resembles nothing more than a big bowl of fresh red fruits. The palate is stuffed with cherry and red currant as well as a host of spices. Vanilla bean, earth, mushroom, and sweet cocoa are all part of the finish. This wine is simply awesome. It&rsquo;s fantastic now and will age well for at least a dozen years.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Lambert Bridge 2012 Malbec</strong></a> ($70)<br /><br /> Lambert Bridge is a boutique Dry Creek Valley producer that sells its wine direct to consumers. A small handful of wineries in Sonoma produce a varietal Malbec and this is one of the best. Red flower aromas emerge from the nose along with lots of plum characteristics as well as black cherry. The palate is loaded with plenty of juicy red fruit, spice, and a dollop of earth. Bits of boysenberry and chocolate sauce dot the persistent finish which demands you come back to the glass for sip after sip.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Rodney Strong Vineyards 2009 Alexander&rsquo;s Crown Cabernet Sauvignon</strong></a> ($75)<br /><br /> This fruit came from a vineyard site first planted in 1971. It was in fact the first in Alexander Valley to produce a single vineyard Cabernet. This library offering is still young fresh and vibrant. The nose is big, bold and slightly ostentatious with plum, bits of vanilla bean and black currant. Black and red cherry flavors dominate the palate. Sweet dark chocolate, bits of chicory and pepper are all evident on the above average finish. This powerful but proportionate wine is just entering its prime drinking window, enjoy it over the next 8 years.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Kosta Browne 2014 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($110)<br /><br /> This Pinot was produced from five distinct vineyard sites located in the Sonoma Coast, one of the most exciting AVA&rsquo;s for Pinot in California. Mushroom and black currant aromas fill the nose. The palate is studded with black cherry, tobacco, and leather. Cranberry, pomegranate, earth, minerals and wisps of rosemary appear on the long finish. Racy acid adds to the mouthwatering nature of this beautiful Pinot Noir.</p> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6845 Your Guide to Aged Wines Snooth Editorial <p>The majority of wines on the market these days are meant to be consumed within one to five years. This is a natural law. Producing wines that can sit in the cellar for decades is time-consuming and expensive. There is a time and place for wines that age and adventurous palates are required. Most all age-worthy wines will have high acid, tannin, and sugar levels to start. Acid and tannin help slow oxidation, and some extra sugar will assist in the prevention of re-fermentation in bottle. Re-fermentation in barrel is no problem, but when it happens in bottle, you could end up with a cloudy, fizzy, unenviably stinky product. How will you avoid embarrassment over a bum bottle of supposedly age-worthy Chardonnay at Thanksgiving 2036? This article is how. The web&rsquo;s top wine writers are here to help you build an age-worthy wine collection, and their recommendations may surprise you!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> What&rsquo;s the oldest bottle in your collection? Do you have a favorite old bottle story? Be sure to let us know in the comments.<br /> <strong>Bandol</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>My first child was born in 2015, so I plan on burying some 2015s to open with her 20 years from now. Among those 2015s will be a few wines from Bandol, an appellation in France&#39;s Provence region. These wines (based on the gritty Mourvedre grape) are usually densely tannic in their youth, but with years of age they turn into beautiful, floral, meaty, spicy wines. Producers like Domaine Tempier, Chateau de Pibarnon and La Bastide Blanche make exceptional wines that can easily improve for 15+ years. Whenever I plan to bury a wine for the long haul, I like to buy at least three bottles of the same wine. I like to drink one in the first couple of years to get a baseline understanding of the wine and how it may age. (Also, it can be incredibly frustrating to cellar one bottle of special wine for a long time only to pop it and find it suffering from cork taint.) Keep this in mind: if you&#39;re cellaring a wine for more than a few years, make sure you have adequate storage conditions. Stick the bottles in one of those small wine fridges or, if you have the space, a dark, cold, undisturbed corner of the basement can suffice.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Isaac James Baker</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">Reading, Writing &amp; Wine</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Sauternes</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>For me sweet wines are most enjoyable when they have sufficient acidity to balance the sweetness. The finish must be clean rather than cloying. The wines of Sauternes fit this description perfectly. Sauternes is an AOC comprised of five small villages within the Graves AOC south of the city of Bordeaux. It has the distinction of producing only sweet, white wines that are not fortified. The ability to produce such wines relies on the presence of a fungus called botrytis cinerea, or more tactfully noble rot, which develops on grapes with the proper combination of fog and dry conditions. Noble rot causes individual grape berries to become desiccated thereby concentrating sugars, flavor and acidity. Multiple picking passes through the vineyards are required to harvest individual berries at just the proper time. As you might expect the yield is very small from these S&eacute;million, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle vineyards. Once in the cellar gentle pressing is followed by fermentation and aging in a high proportion of new oak. In their youth Sauternes wines deliver generous aromas and flavors of apricot, pineapple, minerals and spice. The wine is round and sweet with significant acidity. The finish seems to last forever. As they age their dense yellow-golden color turns to amber and then chestnut. The flavors develop to dried apricot, caramelized sugar and nuts. I love them when they&rsquo;re bright and young, but they are even more complex and interesting over time. One of my favorite producers is Ch&acirc;teau Guiraud, a Premier Cru located in the village also called Sauternes. The 2011 vintage would be an excellent choice.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Nancy Brazil</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">Pull that Cork</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2014 Ara Riesling</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Widely known by wine connoisseurs around the globe, wines that contain high alcohol and high acidity (which act as preservatives) have the best chance of aging with grace - as long as they are stored properly. When seeking out a wine that I want to cellar for some 15 plus years, I not only look for the fundamental higher acidity and alcohol, but I also examine the wine&#39;s concentration of fruit, solid structure, and its captivating complex characteristics. Most importantly, I turn to producers who have reputations for creating superb wines that have the potential to age, and I believe one of the most age-worthy varietals on the planet is Riesling. More than a handful of Oregon producers are making Rieslings that are out-of-this-world phenomenal, and one of those producers is Brooks Wines - where remarkably extraordinary Riesling has found its home in the Eola-Amity Hills. Characterized by higher altitudes and an ocean breeze that surreptitiously creeps its way through the famed Van Duzer Corridor (the lowest point in Oregon&#39;s Coastal Range), Eola-Amity Hills AVA is a sub region of the Willamette Valley, where a tumultuous geological history created a complex series of soil with varied influence. Brooks Wines has an intensely rich and gripping story, featured in the documentary American Wine Story, and their Rieslings perfectly mimic the Brooks gripping and intense history. Their 2014 Ara Riesling thunders lush and fierce aromas of earth, honeycrisp apples, lemon zest and sweet nectarines highlighted by a blend of ground white pepper and Mediterranean spice - blanketed by the much-desired (in a Riesling) petrol character. With a sense of place exuding from the aromatics, a seamless wave of fruit fills the mouth along with refreshing minerality and vibrant mid-palate acidity - giving it perpetual balance and a long, expressive finish. Without a doubt, the 2014 Ara Riesling could easily age with grace for 15 or more years - if I could just resist pulling that cork. More Brooks Winery wines are featured on Julia&#39;s website, <a href=""></a>.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Julia Crowley</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">The Real Wine Julia</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Champagne</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Of all the Snooth topics we have been asked to write about, I have struggled with this one the most since there really are a multitude of great responses and I went back and forth several times. In the end, I decided to stay true to my roots: Champagne. Despite what many people in Champagne will have you believe, champagne can get better with age. The Champenois (the denizens of the famous region) are known to quip that every bottle of champagne is ready to drink upon release and that there is no reason to wait as it will only get worse in the bottle. To that, I say &quot;poppycock.&quot; While not every champagne will stand the test of time (you want to drink most non-vintage champagnes in a year or two), vintage champagnes (those with a vintage year on the label), since they are theoretically only made in the best years, can often last at least a decade past their vintage year. Many Champagne houses also produce a t&ecirc;te de cuv&eacute;e or top blend, which are only made in the very best years (which, with climate change is occurring at least every other year it seems). Some of the names are quite familiar, perhaps: Dom P&eacute;rignon (Mo&euml;t et Chandon), La Grande Dame (Veuve Clicquot), Belle Epoque (Perrier-Jou&euml;t), Celebris (Gosset), Palmes d&#39;Or (Nicolas Feuillatte), Nec-Plus-Ultra (N.P.U.) (Bruno Paillard), and the over-hyped Cristal (Rogederer), to name just a few. If you can swallow the price tag of these wines, which range from $125 to $250, you really should not pop them until at least a decade has passed since their vintage. In the best years, they can easily last twice that long. If you are really patient, nothing is better, in my mind, than a 25-30 year old prestige champagne. Most of the fruity aspects of the wine will be gone, leaving tons of baked bread, caramel, and sherries notes. It is a bit of an acquired taste for sure, but once you acquire it? Look out. 1996 was one of the best years ever in Champagne, and a few (but only a few) can still be found in the market. Other vintages to consider: 2002, 2004, 2008, and when they finally hit the shelves (they are not out yet) 2012.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jeffrey M. Kralik</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">The Drunken Cyclist</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Trust Your Choice</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Wines that are age worthy is a two part question. One: how long or what is the capacity for a wine to age. Two: what is considering a proper amount of aging? I remember I was buying a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1990 and my soon to be former manager of the company I worked for said something to the affect &quot;how nice... too young to drink. I just have to hang on for another 10 years&rdquo;. All of this of course not to be interpreted as nice.... but after all he was a going to be a former manager. Truth though was this wine and vintage was perfectly drinkable then and much less now. Yes even Bordeaux has a limit. I don&#39;t like to age for more than a generation with few exceptions. For me what I think are nicely aged are a reasonable term. I like Napa Valley valley floor Cabernets to be aged for between 3-10 years. More than 10 is possible but I look to enjoy my wines at their optimum. Too many people let their wines age for too long as and are on the misguided view of older is better. I like all of my Napa Valley mountain fruit Cabernet wines like Howell Mountain and Mount Veeder and I like to wait for at least 5 years from release. I want optimum wines and a little aging goes a long way to soften tannins and let the fruit become wine--of course it is wine but in that more mystical sense. It is the alchemy that takes place with a bit of patience and good cellaring conditions. I like to take receipt directly of wine as I want no chance of transporting wines during the warm season. I live in temperate San Francisco where temperature is rather even daytime to night nearly year round. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I like my non-Burgundies to be my cellar for a minimum of three-four years from release &ndash; that is not a lot ageing especially if it is a Grand Cru. I don&rsquo;t think it is a question of tannins but time in bottle. I also don&rsquo;t want this delicate wine go age too much and lose colour&mdash;there are outstanding Burgundies that can age for longer than 7 years but for optimum experience want the best wine at the right right. You can view a vintage chart but I do think there is a hard science behind it. Simple you would have to keep track when it was created so you didn&rsquo;t age a particular wine in perpetuity. You will not find a 30-year old wine in my cellar unless it is vintage Port or a Madeira and I do have one bottle of Dom Periginon vinatge 1990. I believe I should have opened up a bit of tie ago for it to be optimum&mdash;can it still be enjoyed today&mdash;I think the answer is yes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Riesling for some can age extraordinarily long&mdash;up to 30 years but this depends on sweetness levels. The sweeter it is the longer and the drier the shorter. I have heard of people drinking old 100-year-old Riesling but I think that is folkloric and not based in reality. I think that these anecdotes keep people thinking all wines are ageable for very long periods of time. Wine does not and should not last forever but it should be designed to do what it was meant to do and that is age for a shorter period of time but not forever. I have been guilty because there was a memory in the experience of tasting a particular wine with great friends or that I loved the bottle or vintage. Remember vintage changes year over year. I had two bottles of a very wonderful bottle of 1998 Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon I thought it was amazing in 2005 but the other less-than-optimized in 2015. I challenge myself to open up wines. Yes, there is more of that or another great wine if you open a special bottle. Trust your choice&mdash;and if there is only one thing you remember&mdash;think of shooting for an optimized experience&mdash;not a perfect one and don&rsquo;t hold on to any wine forever. In the end it is up to you when to open that great bottle of wine.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>James Melendez</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">James the Wine Guy</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> <em>A consumer seeking a wine to tuck away in their cellar for an extended period of time should look to [central] Italy&#39;s Umbria region. Within the town of Montefalco grows the deep ruby-red colored prized jewel of the land known as Sagrantino. This low-yielding red grape variety is thick skinned and late ripening, producing well-structured, burly wines that demand a good deal of patience. Sagrantino is grown almost exclusively in Umbria and ranks as one of the most tannic grape varieties out there. But gum-numbing tannins alone won&rsquo;t do the trick. Sagrantino also yields rich fruit with good length, rustic appeal, and most notably, great acid balance &ndash; which gives wine life and longevity. Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG wines require 100% Sagrantino be used and a minimum of 12 months in barrel with at least 36 months of overall aging prior to release. An ideal candidate for cellaring that you can find online for around $50 is C&ograve;lpetrone 2006 Gold Montefalco Sagrantino. I just opened a bottle last week. Gold is the producer&rsquo;s masterwork; produced from estate fruit only in the best vintage years. This is a wine of substance that is meaty and firm, though integrated and balanced. Dry, grainy tannins wrap around a core of [dried] dark berry fruit flavors intermixed with spice, worn leather, tobacco leaf, and hints of black cherry. There&rsquo;s a solid underpinning of acidity that carries through the expansive, slightly gripping finish. This is a wine that begs for well-marbled cuts of beef or hearty winter fare. With more time in the bottle this wine should further develop character and complexities and reward its owner. Please feel free to share a recommendation or two with us. Thank you!</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Dezel Quillen</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">My Vine Spot</a></div><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2013 Ridge Monte Bello</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>I&rsquo;m more of a wine drinker than a wine collector &ndash; with one exception &ndash; Ridge Monte Bello. I vividly recall the first vintage I purchased. It was the 2008 Monte Bello. I purchased the wine without giving its ageability much thought. Then I discovered what I&rsquo;ll call the &ldquo;Monte Bello&rdquo; rule of thumb. Buy it, but don&rsquo;t even think about drinking it at least 10 years if you want to maximize your enjoyment of the wine. That&rsquo;s because Ridge Monte Bello has a remarkable ability to age. The 1971 Ridge Monte Bello, which placed fourth at the original 1976 Judgment of Paris, placed first in the 30 year re-enactment of the landmark tasting in 2006. The 35 year-old was in a class by itself, winning by a large margin. I&rsquo;ve tasted the 1985, 1992, 1995, 2001, and 2005 in recent years and I can tell you the wines were simply sublime. They&rsquo;re worth the wait (is it 2018 yet?).<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I recently tasted the most current release - the 2013.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s crafted from a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Merlot. It&rsquo;s an opaque ruby color with a beautiful perfume of blackberries, cassis, violets, licorice and subtle toasted oak spice aromas. On the palate it&rsquo;s impeccably balanced but tight now, exhibiting power and grace with intense blackberry, exotic oak spice flavors with an appealing wet stone minerality with a long focused finish 13.6% abv SRP - $185</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Martin Redmond</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">ENOFYLZ Wine Blog</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Collier Falls 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Sometimes patience is rewarded. Fine wines built with structure that have a balance of tannin and acid are the primary hallmarks you&rsquo;re looking for when considering wines to lay down. While the selections are often tasty to drink upon release, waiting them out for a number of years often provides even more delightful results. By and large when people think of age-worthy wines big dollar signs come to mind. And while there are a higher percentage of wines in the upper echelon of pricing that are suited for aging there are values to be had too. One of the secrets of Sonoma County California is the excellent Cabernet that is grown in Dry Creek Valley. This region is better known for Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc, with good reason, they crush those varieties. However there are a bit more than a handful of producers bottling world-class, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon from Dry Creek Valley fruit. Most of the wines in that number come from Hillside Vines. Such is the case with the Collier Falls Cabernet Sauvignon with is wonderful one vintage after another. The current release is no exception. This Cabernet was produced entirely from Estate fruit. It was grown on Barry Colliers property in the heart of Dry Creek Valley. The nose is loaded with red fruits as well as bits of toast and vanilla. The substantial palate is studded with spices and continued red fruit flavors. Dried cherry, strawberry and currant are all in evidence. The finish is long and memorable with oodles of earth, more spice and a hint of dark, dusty chocolate. Firm tannins yield with some air. Racy acid keeps things balanced and mouth-watering. This Cabernet is delicious now, particularly if decanted for an hour, but feel free to lay it down. It&rsquo;ll age gracefully for the next 15-20 years. This wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon loaded with character is a steal. ($45)</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Gabe Sasso</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">Gabe&rsquo;s View</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2004 Delamotte Blanc de Blancs</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>As a wine consumer, I do not typically purchase age worthy wines. I buy wines to drink now or within the next year to five years. In fact, the oldest wine I have in my small collection is vintage 2004. That wine happens to be a bottle of 2004 Delamotte Blanc de Blancs, a vintage Champagne recommended to me by a former work colleague. It appeared as an offer on a flash site in 2014. My colleague and I each purchased three bottles for about half of its suggested retail price ($100) and shipping was included on six bottles. However, we had to wait impatiently for months until it finally arrived in January 2015. The vineyard sources of this 100% chardonnay Champagne include four crus in La C&ocirc;te des Blancs: Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Avize, Cramant, and Oger. It spent eight years in bottle sur lie before being released. For my birthday dinners in 2015 and 2016, I shared this wine with friends. Both times, it was quite stunning. The reactions of my dinner companions said it all, their faces revealing delightful expressions of glee and giddiness. Simultaneously effervescent and creamy, this beautiful Champagne exhibited a veritable fruit bowl of flavors on the palate - apple, pear, peach, and citrus - with a backbone of delicate brioche. Wine Spectator recommends drinking the 2004 Delamotte Blanc de Blancs through 2025, but I don&#39;t think my last bottle will remain beyond my birthday dinner in 2017.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Elizabeth Smith​</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">Travelling Wine Chick</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Mer Soleil Reserve, Chardonnay from the Wagner Family of Wine</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Built to last need not mean break the bank. The current release of Mer Soleil Reserve 2014 Chardonnay, tumbles out of the bottle with a day bright, gold color, aromas of honey, apples, vanilla and spice, and boasts a silky texture with flavors of baking spices and pear. Consider this a warning, it will be hard to lay aside. Over the summer I was able to taste this wine from a 2004 magnum with winemaker, Charlie Wagner. The years turned the color of the 100% Chardonnay wine a dark gold. Muted notes of apples and honey were faintly present, reinforced by the still silky texture. In the aged wine, top notes of aroma and flavors belied a savory, black truffle character. Truffled honey flavors were persistent in the finish. The 2004 vintage wine retained a lot of freshness. I tried this wine in the windswept Mer Soleil vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA in California&rsquo;s Monterey County, where nature fosters tasty Chardonnay grapes. The winemakers at the Wagner Family of Wine respect the fruit and &ldquo;let the wine find itself&rdquo;. I found it delicious. Best of all, you can easily find this for under $30. A great deal for a wine that proved ageable for 10 years and would be interesting in another few. We tasted the older wines in a magnum format, which Charlie said slows down the aging process. So invest in a magnum and set it aside for a future celebration.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Liza Swift</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">BrixChicks</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Riesling</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>If ageability was the only criteria for great wine, then Riesling would be considered the greatest grape variety in the world! And so, even though I know that some of my other fellow wine writers may choose Riesling as well, I have to go with a Riesling wine. But instead of a Riesling from Germany that the cool kids can&rsquo;t get enough of, I&rsquo;m going with Alsace. This small region in the north-east of France has had a long, turbulent history &ndash; it&rsquo;s a territory where the rule was changed a few times from Germany to France, vice versa, and finally back to France. Although they are now technically French, there are still some wonderful Germanic influences that are evident in their culture, such as crafting stunning white wines - especially Riesling.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> But please do not mistake that their wines are similar. Alsace Rieslings have a tendency to have more fruit and body since they receive a large amount of sunlight hours during the growing season, but they still have the marked acidity (some sites less than others) which make German Rieslings so age worthy. Recently, I had the great pleasure of tasting the 2014 Zind-Humbrecht Clos St Urbain &ldquo;Rangen de Thann&rdquo; Grand Cru. It is still just a baby, but my goodness, was it devastatingly delicious. It had incredible precision with pristine white peach fruit and an intoxicatingly smoky note that hinted to the volcanic rocks of this legendary property. 2014 was known as a classic vintage that made wines with bright acidity and pure fruit flavors. The Clos St Urbain vineyard is part of the Grand Cru of Rangen de Thann, and certain aspects of this site allow for a longer growing season resulting in more complexity in the finished wine. I still remember the astonishing, long finish on this Riesling with lots of tension and hidden treasures that will only reveal themselves with long term aging. This wine will have no problems evolving for the next 15 - 20 years, and your patience will be rewarded with the experience of tasting liquid gold.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cathrine Todd</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">Dame Wine</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Ch&acirc;teau L&eacute;oville-Barton from Saint-Julien, Bordeaux</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>I&rsquo;m a Francophile at heart. So it should comes as no surprise that when I want an age-worthy wine, I go right back to Bordeaux. Since cost is always a concern, we&rsquo;ll steer away from First Growths into second growths so we need a consistent, solid player. Enter Ch&acirc;teau L&eacute;oville-Barton from Saint-Julien, Bordeaux.This wine offers blackberry and cassis upfront, secondary notes of mocha, leather and earth. A luxurious, long finish offers final notes of gravel, slate, clay, and wood. Early in life this wine shows massive tannins that require a solid decade to settle into beautiful harmony, entirely worth the wait. Ten years aging, minimum required.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jim van Bergen</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">JvB UnCorked</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Grand Cru Alsatian Rieslings</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>When asked what wines are &ldquo;built to last&rdquo; my mind goes wild with suggestions. Many wines are built to age fifteen years or more. Imagine a fifteen year old Burgundy, Champagne, Bordeaux, Barolo, Amarone, or Brunello. My heart sings with excitement. However, there is one wine I think above all others that is so special and truly built to last: Alsatian Dry Riesling. I have read that Riesling is one of the most collectible wines among connoisseurs. I had the great pleasure to taste Trimbach Grand Cru Clos Ste Hune from 1976, 1989, and 1990 and Cuv&eacute;e Fr&eacute;d&eacute;ric Emile from 1983, 1989, 1998, and 2003. From the first sip, the outstanding age-ability of these Grand Cru Alsatian Rieslings, it was immediately evident why so many connoisseurs collect Riesling. In its youth classic Alsatian Riesling has bright aromas and flavors of stone fruit, citrus, and even spice notes of ginger and crushed stone minerality. As it ages the fruit notes integrate as aromas and flavors of petrol, lanolin, and more pronounced minerality takes center stage. It is a glorious taste to behold. Therefore, my suggestion of a special wine to buy young and age properly for fifteen years or more is definitely Grand Cru Riesling from Alsace.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Michelle Williams</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">Rockin Red Blog</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>What&rsquo;s the oldest bottle in your collection? Do you have a favorite old bottle story? Be sure to let us know in the comments.</strong></p> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6843 Move Beyond Cab and Chard John Downes <p>I&rsquo;m always being asked to recommend an unusual wine, &ldquo;one that isn&rsquo;t Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay&rdquo;. With media communications improving by the minute it&rsquo;s getting more and more difficult but at a recent corporate event I saw a few puzzled expressions when I suggested Blaufr&auml;nkisch. It&rsquo;s one of my favourite Austrian reds and certainly falls into the &lsquo;little known&rsquo; category. Austria is not a winemaking nation that automatically falls from our lips but that may be about to change as the &lsquo;new kid on the block&rsquo; Leithaberg region has its sights on a shelf near you. Leithaberg&rsquo;s (&lsquo;Leitha Mountains&rsquo;, pronounced Letaberg), south facing vineyards slope gently to the shores of the Neusiedlersee, Austria&rsquo;s famous inland lake about an hour&rsquo;s drive south-east of Vienna in the province of Burgenland. For you geography nuts, the lake is about 45 kilometres long and about 11 kilometres wide but no more than 2 metres deep; intriguingly, its southern shores dip their toes into neighbouring Hungary.<br /> Blaufr&auml;nkisch is the top red grape of the Leithaberg region where its trademark tasting notes include &lsquo;crisp chunky blackberry fruit balanced with attractive tannins&rsquo;. The other &lsquo;Austrian red grapes to look out for are Zweigelt and St. Laurent. Happily, the grape varieties are proudly announced on the front labels of Austrian wines which makes for far easier strolls up the wine aisle. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Leithaberg&rsquo;s limestone and schist rock vineyards rise to about 300 metres above the glistening Neusiedlersee. From these cool elevated sites you can spy on Hungary on a clear day and view the extent of the Leithaberg D.A.C. from Jois to the north of the lake to Morbisch and Zagersdorf in the south. By the way, D.A.C. stands for &lsquo;Districtus Austriae Controllatus&rsquo;, Austria&rsquo;s status for special region-typical Quality Wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> If you looking for a little musical history whilst sipping these Austrian reds, you can pop into the majestic church nestling in the vineyards overlooking the lake where Franz Joseph Haydn famously composed and tickled the ivories for many years, no doubt inspired by the local reds.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Leithaberg vineyards are also well suited to white wines and for those who&rsquo;d prefer a rich white look out for Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner, the variety that&rsquo;s making a name for itself and lifting Austria&rsquo;s reputation as it goes. The other white varieties that are allowed to carry the Leithaberg D.A.C. label are Pinot Blanc (known as Weissburgunder in Austria), our old mate Chardonnay and the little known variety, Neuburger.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> For the wine tourist there&rsquo;s far more to Leithaberg than its wines as its long been a favourite with visitors who flock to the region each year to enjoy the impressive Schloss Esterhazy castle in Eisenstadt and the wine enriched lakeside music festivals at Morbisch and Sankt Margarethen.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It&rsquo;s rumoured that Joseph Haydn enjoyed dining out and brought a few cases of Leithaberg wines to enjoy during his time in London in the 1790&rsquo;s. I&rsquo;m not sure which &lsquo;weinguts&rsquo; (Austrian for &lsquo;winery&rsquo;) he supported with his schillings but if he was composing today I think he&rsquo;d be really happy with Weinguts Tinhof, Prieler, Nittnaus, Altenbuger, Birgit Braunstein, Hartl, Nehmer, Kaiser and Bayer Erbhof.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 340 Masters of Wine in the world is a corporate entertainer,cspeaker, television and radio broadcaster and writer on wine. Check out John&rsquo;s website at <a href=""></a>. Follow him on Twitter</em><a href=""><em> @JOHNDOWNESMW</em></a></p> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6844 The Map to Great Garnacha, Part Three Snooth Editorial <p>Happy Garnacha Day! This day celebrates Garnacha and honors its freedom from the blending grape stereotype. We have its birthplace -- Eastern Spain -- to thank for this renaissance. New generations of winemakers in the five key Denominaci&oacute;n de Origen (DO) are maximizing the potential of old vines, carefully controlling yields, and uniting tradition with modern practice. The result is varietal Garnacha wines of unbridled quality. Although Garnacha is notoriously easy to grow, it is a highly sensitive and empathic grape. It&rsquo;s also highly adaptable. The slightest differences in terroir and climate have a big impact on the wines. This is precisely why each one of the five key native Garnacha DOs showcases something different. Each unique Garnacha interpretation carries a through-line of velveteen richness, balanced acidity, and scrumptious fruit flavors. Over the past few weeks we&rsquo;ve examined DO Cari&ntilde;ena, DO Campo de Borja, and DO Calatayud. In this final installment, we will examine DO Terra Alta and DO Somontano. <br /> <strong>DO Terra Alta</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Recognized as DO in 1972, Terra Alta (which means &ldquo;high land&rdquo;) is known for white Garnacha (Garnacha Blanca) although red Garnacha is produced here a well. It is located in Catalonia&rsquo;s southern-most inland area, the only one of the five key Garnacha regions not officially in Arag&oacute;n. Roughly eight thousand hectares are under vine in DO Terra Alta. The region was a favorite of Pablo Picasso. He summered in the mountains of DO Terra Alta, perfecting his cubist painting techniques amid the wines and vines. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Plains, plateaus, slopes and valleys dot the landscape that Picasso grew to intimately understand. In addition to the climactic influence, DO Terra Alta&rsquo;s proximity to the Mediterranean Sea delivers limestone soils, river beds, oak and pine woods. It&rsquo;s not uncommon to see groves of almond and olive trees. Altitude is up to five hundred and fifty feet. Cool and humid winds from the nearby Mediterranean help create wines with a mineral-over-fruit focus. Located close to Barcelona and the Mediterranean, the climate is characterized by cool winds from the north and humid winds off of the sea. While sunshine is plentiful and rain is scarce, the climate is a hybrid of both a Mediterranean and continental climate.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> While you will find other grape varieties in DO Terra Alta, Garnacha Blanca, or Garnatxa blanca, is the region&rsquo;s specialty. You can find Garnacha Blanca as a blending grape in the Rhone, and as a component of sweet wines in Roussillon. Terra Alta is renowned for its varietal interpretation. In fact, &ldquo;Amber Blanc&rdquo;, an oxidized white wine, was Terra Alta&rsquo;s claim to fame in the 19th century. The vines used to make those wines were lost to Phylloxera and replanted in the early to mid-20th century. The average white Garnacha vine is twenty-five years old, and over the last century DO Terra Alta has been dedicated to revivifying the grape and perfecting varietal dry wines made from white Garnacha. Each bottle of DO Terra Alta Garnatxa blanca is numbered on the back label. These bottles are one hundred percent Garnatxa blanca of superior quality &ndash; not only in terms of the grape, but the winemaking as well. They are rich, full bodied, and rare to find in any other part of the world.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here to learn more about DO Terra Alta.</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>DO Somontano</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Pyrenees can be considered a naturally-occurring border between Spain and France. DO Somontano&rsquo;s four-thousand hectares fall among the snow-capped Pyrenees at the edge of the Ebro River valley. Somontano is Latin for &ldquo;beneath the mountain&rdquo;. Extreme diurnal temperature shifts at high altitudes (300 to 1000 meters above sea level) combine with rich soils to create age-worthy Garnacha masterpieces. The soils contain a fair amount of gypsum, a deposit which dates back to the Archean Eon (4000&ndash;2500 million years ago.) A large amount of lime is also present.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> A DO since 1984, Somontano has been hailed for its Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. That definition is evolving as the region commits to increase plantings of its native Garnacha over the next few years. This does not mean that all DO Somontano Garnacha is young. The region is known for old-vine Garnacha from its Valle de Secastilla, where the vines are one hundred years old or more. These wines offer layers of complexity unique to old vines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Ruta del Vino Somontano (wine route) is an enotourist&rsquo;s paradise. You will experience the region&rsquo;s rich heritage as punctuated by centuries of winemaking. Along the route you&rsquo;ll also find the Sierra y Ca&ntilde;ones de Guara Natural Reserve located in the Sierra de Guara mountain range. The medieval town of Alqu&eacute;zar is another one of DO Somontano&rsquo;s must-sees. Experience prehistoric drawings inside the limestone caves; it is the same limestone that gives your wine a distinct DO Somontano minerality.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here to learn more about DO Somontano.</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Celebrate Garnacha Day the right way! <a href="">Click here for details about our exclusive virtual tasting.</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo credit: <a href=""><strong>Wines of Garnacha</strong></a></p> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6839 What Savvy Wine Consumers Should Know Nova McCune Cadamatre <p>Wine is not becoming too industrial. However, to explore this concept one must first understand what the word industrial means. Industrial means &ldquo;of an industry&rdquo;. In that sense all wine is inherently industrial because it is part of the wider wine industry. The question of if wine is becoming too industrial is then what should be explored in depth. The point of view of the consumer must be considered because different consumers will have differing opinions relative to others depending on what part of the industry they are examining based on where they stand in relation to it.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> What does a product that has become too industrial look like? Cross comparisons could be drawn from the fashion industry. At the very high end clothing is not too industrial. In fact, one could claim that it is quite artisanal with designers drawing inspiration from the world around them and translating those inspirations onto the fabric and models which serve as their canvas. In comparison, the mass marketed clothing must look quite industrial to those at the bespoke merchants because the same shirts, pants, or dresses are churned out like printed pages in large foreign factories to appeal to the value end of the market&rsquo;s dependence on inexpensive wears. Those consumers who look for value in their clothing may see the high end as elitist and snobby while the people purchasing at the top see themselves as lovers of high fashion. The wine industry can be seen in the exact same manner.<br /><br /> <br /> Can a wine which is made at a value price point truly be too industrial when it is the very industry&rsquo;s consumers which demand that it should be made in such a way in the name of a low price? Can the consumers of exclusive, high end wines really judge for others, who are not able to access the same quality of wines on a frequent basis, if those wines which are made at a value price point are too industrial for their own consumers? &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Henry Ford, upon starting to sell the Model-T famously said &ldquo;You can have any color as long as it&rsquo;s black.&rdquo; When a product becomes too industrial, generally the consumer&rsquo;s choice becomes highly limited. The quality becomes similar and the variation of styles is reduced. Paper towels are a great example of an industry which is too industrial. The limitation of choice to color, length of sheet, or pattern of quilting is the maximum extent which consumers must choose between. This is quite far from the case with wines even at the value end. In fact, there exists so many choices in wine that many consumers feel overwhelmed. If you think about a supermarket shelf where this is normally a problem, it does not even include all the possible options available to consumers across the price points of the wine industry, but is focused wine brands that can be found in a fairly wide distribution. Because of the limited shelf space of retailers and consolidated distribution channels event the number of choices which seem daunting to many wine consumers only represents a very limited number of offerings from the wider wine industry. This vast number of choices allows consumers to grow and evolve within the category over time without leaving the industry as a whole. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> However, when point of view is taken into account it is quite easy to understand when a consumer of fine wine, who is accustomed to small bottle production with hands-on care and love, looks at a $5.00 bottle and thinks, &ldquo;How simple. How commercial.&rdquo; The art has been squeezed out of this bottle and replaced with ISO level detailed specifications analyzing every last detail from the g/L of sugar, the amount of color absorbance at 430 nanometer wavelengths, to the percent change in conductivity when cream of tartar is introduced to cold wine to test cold stability. At this level the question of &ldquo;Does this wine represent the terroir of the land and the vintage?&rdquo; is replaced by &ldquo;Is this quality and style consistent with the last 10 blends even though these are completely different base wines that are being used?&rdquo;&nbsp; From this perspective, to that consumer, wine has become too industrial. These consumers will likely seek out winemakers which are using minimal intervention techniques and wines that speak to their locations clearly and consistently.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> From the point of view of the value consumer, it is likely that the thought of &ldquo;Is this wine too industrial?&rdquo; has never crossed their mind. Wine is a beverage, part of a meal or celebration with friends. It is likely that the excitement of enjoying the moment replaces any thought of how the wine was made. Only if the wine did not live up to their expectation, would it be examined more closely. The value winemaker&rsquo;s job is to allow the wine to blend seamlessly with the experience, whatever that may be. If this causes wines to be seen as too industrial then so be it.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Therefore, the idea that wine is becoming too industrial depends highly on a person&rsquo;s perspective on the industry however, overall today&rsquo;s wine consumers have a wider array of choices spanning price, quality, style, origin, and value than nearly any other industry. This is not hallmark of a product that is too industrial but the sign of a thriving industry which has almost limitless choices and options for consumers to explore. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Do you think wine is too industrial? Sound off in the comments.</p> Thu, 15 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6842 Think Beyond Chilean Cabernet Gabe Sasso <p>Every wine producing country has strengths and weaknesses, some more than others. Chile has many high points that make it a go-to country when looking for outstanding wine. The number of unique regions that feature diverse soil types and microclimates is simply astounding. Chile has three thousand miles of coastline north to south as well as mountain ranges and plenty of inland regions to boot. The nature of their varied terroir allows them to plant a stunning number of grape varieties in appropriate areas that they&rsquo;ll flourish in.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Chile has traditionally been best known for Cabernet Sauvignon with good reason -- they excel with that varietal. However, a host of other grapes thrive in Chile. For starters, Pinot Noir, one of the most fickle grapes in the world, is being produced in a genuine style that speaks to the grape itself and the terroir it comes from. Syrah has seen an uptick in production and there are some terrific examples. Carm&eacute;n&egrave;re has found its most natural home in Chile and it does well as a varietal wine as well as excelling in the myriad of terrific and distinct red blends that seem to be emerging from just about every corner of this nation. Aromatic whites and small lots of old vine grapes, both indigenous (such as Pais) and international are producing lovely wines too.<br /><br /> <br /> The sheer number of great values coming out of Chile is head-spinning. These are not the &ldquo;bargain basement&rdquo; wines of 20 years ago. What we&rsquo;re talking about is world-class wines produced from innumerable grapes in every region of Chile that overdeliver in their price tier time after time. Twenty years ago it was easy to find a $6 Cabernet that was tasty and a good bargain, but not of premium quality. Today if you spend $12-$22 on wine from Chile it&rsquo;s likely going to destroy the quality-price ratio from any other country. The diverse, terroir-driven bounty that is emerging in greater numbers year after year from Chile is a delicious boon for wine lovers. Here&rsquo;s a look at some awesome current releases, ranging from $15 to $150, from Sauvignon Gris to red blends and more, which I highly recommend.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ventisquero 2013 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon ($13)</strong></a><br /><br /> <em>Yes, this article is a look at Chilean wines other than Cabernet. However, I just had to share this one Cab so you won&#39;t miss out on the amazing value. In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon (85%), some Syrah (15%) was blended in. All of the fruit came from the Maipo region. A m&eacute;lange of berry aromas dominate the nose along with pepper spice. Cherry, blackberry and strawberry flavors are present on the palate along with plenty of spice, bits or earth and a touch of bay leaf. The finish shows off sweet dark chocolate, tobacco and continuing spices. Most of the world can&rsquo;t complete with Chile on solid, everyday Cabernet Sauvignon under $15, this is exhibit A.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Montes 2016 Spring Harvest Sauvignon Blanc</strong></a> ($15)<br /><br /> <em>This is the first Sauvignon Blanc of the harvest to reach our shores each of the last 2 years. It&rsquo;s entirely Sauvignon Blanc from Leyda Valley. A bit of jalapeno leads the nose along with oodles of citrus and yellow melon. The exceedingly fresh palate is studded with tropical and citrus fruits to spare. The crisp, clean finish begs you back to the glass for another sip. If you&rsquo;re looking for a welcome wine for your next party, this is it. The fresh, young drinking style this is crafted in will be hard for anyone to resist.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Santa Rita 2015 Medalla Real Chardonnay </strong></a>($18)<br /><br /> <em>Composed entirely of Chardonnay from the Ledya Valley, this is one of the standard bearers of Chilean Chardonnay. Toasted hazelnut, green apple and a hint of citrus emerge from the nose. The palate is studded with fleshy yellow fruit flavors and a nice dollop of minerals. Stone fruits, bits of toast and more spice are all evident on the above average finish.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Casa Silva 2015 Sauvignon Gris</strong></a> ($20)<br /><br /> <em>This is 100% Sauvignon Gris from Colchagua Valley. The vines are 112 years old. The nose here is intense and layered with both fruit and floral aromas. The palate has a remarkable combination of freshness and concentration. Yellow melon, citrus and spice elements are all present. The finish here is long enough to be note worthy and features hints of mango and lemon curd.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vi&ntilde;a Koyle 2015 Costa Sauvignon Blanc</strong></a> ($24)<br /><br /> <em>All of the fruit here is from the Paredones section of Colchagua 9 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean. The fruit comes from 3 different exposures and each is fermented separately in Stainless Steel, Burgundy Barrels, and Concrete Eggs. Yellow melon and citrus aromas present on the nose. Lemon zest and fleshy yellow fruit flavors fill the palate. Minerals, sour fruits, and spice are all present on the prodigious finish. The remarkable texture and mouth-feel gives this Sauvignon Blanc a weight, complexity and gravitas that scream elegance. If you love Sauvignon Blanc, you must try Koyle&rsquo;s.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Apaltagua 2015 Ros&eacute;</strong></a> ($13)<br /><br /> <em>In addition to Carmenere (85%), some Syrah (15%) is blended in to this wine. All of the fruit was sourced in Maule. The perfect salmon hue of this Ros&eacute; is striking. Red fruit and violet aromas light up the nose. A bit of orange zest is at play alongside ripe wild strawberry and red cherry on the easy palate. Finely ground spices and a bit of pomegranate emerges on the finish. This is basically summer in a glass.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Falernia 2012 Reserva Syrah</strong></a> ($13)<br /><br /> <em>This offering is composed entirely of Syrah sourced in the Elqui Valley. In the glass it looks like grape juice. Stick your nose in, plum and violet aromas greet you. The palate is stuffed with juicy dark fruit flavors such as blackberry and raspberry along with white pepper and a hint of thyme. Sour cherry and bits of dark chocolate are present on the finish. It goes down easy, it&rsquo;s very clearly Syrah (not always the case) and it pairs with a myriad of foods. In short this is hard to beat for $13 particularly since it&rsquo;s so proportionate.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Santa Rita 2013 Reserva Merlot </strong></a>($13)<br /><br /> <em>In addition to Merlot (90%), some Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) was also blended in. All of the fruit came from the Maipo Valley. Black berry and plum aromas are joined by hints of black olives. Cherry flavors dominate the palate along with black raspberry and an array of spice notes. Roasted espresso, vanilla bean and dried black cherry flavors dominate the solid finish. This is a very representative example of Merlot, for a remarkable price.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Boya 2013 Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($20)<br /><br /> <em>This wine is 100% Pinot Noir from fruit sourced in Leyda. The fruit was harvested early and oak aging took place over 9 months in barrels that had been used 8 to 10 times prior. Strawberry, cherry and other red fruits lead a fresh, expressive nose. The refreshing palate is similarly strewn with all manner of red fruits accompanied by spices and a touch of bay leaf. Wisps of red clay and mushroom are present on the solid finish. Racy acid adds to the mouth-watering appeal here. Boya is delicious and well-priced for everyday drinking in its youth.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ventisquero 2015 Grey GCM</strong></a> ($24)<br /><br /> <em>All of the fruit, Garnacha (50%), Cari&ntilde;ena (25%), and Mataro (25%) was sourced from Block 80 of the La Robler&iacute;a Vineyard in Colchagua Valley. Aging took place over 6 months in neutral French oak. Freshly picked red fruits aromas are accompanied by wisps of black tea on the nose. The substantial and juicy palate is stuffed with raspberries, cherries and more. Spices, chicory and hints of Kalamata olive are in play on the more than substantial finish. This blend will pair well with an astounding array of food types.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Hacienda Araucano 2013 Clos De Lolol</strong></a> ($25)<br /><br /> <em>Syrah (55%), Carm&eacute;n&egrave;re (18%), Cabernet Franc (18%), and Cabernet Sauvignon (9%) from Colchagua Valley were blended together to create this wine. This wine was produced entirely from Estate Fruit. Dark fruit aromas and hints of leather lead the nose. The palate is brimming with fresh, black fruit flavors and a host of spices. Earth, bits of savory herbs, black plum and raspberry flavors are all present on the lip smacking finish. All of the varieties here come together to form a cohesive offering.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Alcance 2013 Vigno Carignan</strong></a> ($35)<br /><br /> <em>This wine from the Maule region is largely Carignan (90%) along with a dollop of Cabernet Sauvignon (10%). The Carignan came from 60 year old vines. Red plum, raspberry and a groundswell of savory herb aromas dominate the nose. Dried red fruits, chicory and plenty of spice elements are present on the deeply layered palate. All of those characteristics along with bits of earth and a dusting of cocoa show up on the long finish. This wonderful, structured, food loving red wine is a great example of the terrific, off the radar things that Chile simply nails.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Matetic Vineyards 2013 EQ Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($40)<br /><br /> <em>All of the fruit for this wine (100% Pinot Noir) was sourced at the winery&rsquo;s Organic Vineyard in the Casablanca Valley. Bits of bay leaf and hints of tobacco leap from the nose along with a blend of red fruit aromas. The palate is loaded with depth and wave after wave of red fruits such as cherry, raspberry and strawberry. Wisps of earth, cranberry and more are present on the above average finish. Matetic&rsquo;s EQ Pinot is a fine example of the heights being reached with Pinot Noir in Chile.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ventisquero 2012 Pangea Syrah</strong></a> ($60)<br /><br /> <em>This is composed entirely of Syrah from the Apalta Vineyard in Colchagua Valley. Aging took place over 22 months in a 50/50 split of new and previously used French oak. Pangea is striking from the word go. It&rsquo;s deep and inky in the glass. Stick your nose in and a bevy of bold black fruit aromas leap out. Blackberry, raspberry and dark plum flavors are ever-present on the stacked palate along with bits of earth and hints of smoked meat and tar. The finish is earthy and rich with continuing black fruits, wisps of dark chocolate and a cornucopia of spices. This is an exceptional example of Syrah.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Apaltagua 2011 Grial Carm&eacute;n&egrave;re</strong></a> ($75)<br /><br /> <em>All of the fruit came from their 60 hectare estate in Colchagua. Grial is 100% Carm&eacute;n&egrave;re. The vines had 60 years of age on them at harvest. Barrel aging took place over 12 months in new oak. A m&eacute;lange of spice aromas are present along with red and black plum on the nose. The dense palate is stuffed with juicy red fruit flavors tinged by hints of black fruit. Savory herbs such as rosemary and thyme are in play as well. The succulent lip-smacking finish shows off bits of toast, vanilla and continued fruit flavors. There is an inherent freshness to the flavors here that really rule the day.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Maquis 2010 Franco Cabernet Franc</strong></a> ($85)<br /><br /> <em>Franco is composed entirely of Cabernet Franc from a riverside vineyard in Colchagua Valley. The fruit was hand-picked and after fermentation it was aged for 14 months in French oak. Big, boisterous red cherry aromas are supported by wisps of leather and spice. Both red and black cherry characteristics are at play throughout the palate along with hints of cinnamon and black pepper spice. Savory herbs, chicory and continuing red fruit flavors dominate the impressively long finish. This top-shelf example of Cabernet Franc will age well for the next dozen or so years.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vi&ntilde;a Vik 2011 VIK</strong></a> ($140)<br /><br /> <em>This blend which is produced from the winery&rsquo;s Estate in the Millahue Valley is composed of Cabernet Sauvignon: (55%), Carm&eacute;n&egrave;re (29%), Cabernet Franc (7%), Merlot (5%), and Syrah (4%). Vi&ntilde;a Vik is an impressive Estate sitting on nearly 11,000 acres. Their goal is to make the best expression of their Estate possible as well as one of the best wines in the world. Everything about Vik screams proportion. It starts from the nose which is expressive without being ostentatious with red fruit aromas, toast and spice all in harmony. The palate is similar with a tremendous array of flavors all in balance. A collection of fresh and dried red fruit flavors such as strawberry and raspberry are joined by gentle hints of black fruits such as currant. The exceptional finish has remarkable length, depth and even-keeled persistence, with fruit, spice, and minerals all pulling together to form a beautiful union. A handful of vintages into their existence the folks at Vik are making a red wine that elevates the reality and perception of what can be accomplished in Chile.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Santa Carolina 2012 Luis Periera Icon</strong></a> ($150)<br /><br /> <em>The fruit was sourced from a host of areas in Chile. Vines had an average of 70 years of age on that at the time of harvest. In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon (90%), Cabernet Franc (5%), Malbec (2%) and Mixed Blacks (3%) were also blended in. This wine, which is named after their founder, uses methodology that would have been employed 50 years ago. The result here is an impressive and elegant wine. The nose is a bit reticent at first but becomes more boisterous with some air. The palate is sophisticated and loaded with charm and grace. Layer after layer of red and black fruit flavors emerge along with spice, minerals and hints of black tea. The prodigious finish goes on for an unbelievably long time and all of the fruit, spice and other characteristics continue to reverberate at the back of the throat long after the last sip is swallowed. This inaugural offering from Santa Carolina is very impressive and serves notice to other producers of high end Cabernet the world over that Chile can make grow Cabernet Sauvignon as well as anyone.</em></p> Tue, 13 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6841 What Wine and Climate Change Could Mean Nova McCune Cadamatre <p>It has been a HOT year. A REALLY HOT year. Here in New York we are just starting to feel the effects of a summer long drought with reduced yields through smaller berries. Changing weather patterns is a really obvious side effect of climate change however there are several ways that climate change can affect the world of wine that may be more surprising. Climate change is the macro trend of changing weather and temperature patterns throughout the globe at a more rapid pace than can be explained by historical natural cycles. It touches many aspects of the global wine market including production, transportation of bulk and finished goods, and marketing.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> One aspect of climate change that affects the production of wine is water availability. Fresh water is a finite resource. In several global wine regions, particularly Australia and California, water is becoming exceedingly hard to come by. Even in areas where water is usually plentiful, such as here in the Finger Lakes, we are seeing a level 2 drought. Dr. Roger Boulton of UC Davis says that wineries should set a goal to reuse 1 gallon of water at least 9 times to meet the current and future supply constraints of fresh water availability globally.&nbsp; Because water impacts both viticulture and winemaking, water availability changes as a result of climate change are very important to the global wine market. <br /> Climate change has a very direct impact on vine growing globally. In many fine wine regions, murmurs of having to change classic varieties are starting. At the Agricultural University in Bordeaux, there is an experimental vineyard with 53 varieties growing that are not currently allowed to be planted in Bordeaux. Researchers are making very small wine batches to see if these varieties can keep the Bordeaux style but better handle the increasing temperatures. It could be that in the future, we&rsquo;ll have to change the definition of what are &ldquo;Bordeaux varieties&rdquo;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Extreme weather caused by climate change also has an impact on wine production. High winds, hail storms, late season frosts or early fall frosts can all wreak havoc with a vineyard. German growers have seen many issues with late frosts and severe hailstorms due to earlier budbreak than average in recent years. Niagara&rsquo;s growing region in Canada also faces similar threats from early springs and warm winters which puts the area&rsquo;s Ice wine production at risk. Bulk wine transportation has been severely impacted over the past few years due to the increasing severity of storms across the globe as well. Chile saw extremely high winds and rough seas over the winter of 2015 in their San Antonio port which inhibited the ability of container ships to pick up bulk wine being shipped overseas for packaging. Severe storms can also cause infrastructure break downs, as was seen in New Jersey just a few months ago, when flooding washed out roads and bulk wine traffic had to be re-routed to reach its final destination. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Increasingly warm temperatures driven by climate change can also have an impact on pests and diseases affecting vineyards. Less cold winters can allow insects to thrive and increasing humidity from frequent summer storms can increase fungal pressure in vineyards. In 2015, there was a noted increase in Pierce&rsquo;s disease in California, largely blamed on the two previous warm winters with drought conditions. One Kern County grower pointed out that warm winters do not kill off as many sharpshooters, the primary vector of Pierce&rsquo;s disease. &ldquo;You need at least 4 consecutive days below 55 degrees [F] to kill the sharpshooters and we just haven&rsquo;t seen that type of cold recently.&rdquo; &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Finally, with global consumer concerns about climate change rising, the global wine market must tailor their marketing to appeal to these new concerns. &ldquo;Wine is one of the few industries that could be Carbon negative, if it was profitable to be so&rdquo; states Dr. Boulton. &ldquo;Green&rdquo; marketing initiatives including light weight bottles, sustainably certified vineyards, and energy efficient winery architecture are all ways that the global wine market are selling environmentally friendly wine to consumers. Even the Ontario Liquor Control Board is requiring wineries selling their products into Canada to reduce their Carbon footprint by using only lightweight glass for still wine products. Climate change is increasingly important to the wine consumer, therefore it should be increasingly important to the global wine market.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> As climate change reshapes the world we live in, the global wine market must be prepared to adapt all aspects of production, transportation and marketing to change with it. From examining new varieties in the vineyard and new technologies in the winery to working through difficult transportation issues and marketing directly to an increasingly environmentally conscious consumer, climate change is impacting the wine industry in many surprising ways. </p> Thu, 08 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6838 Wines You Can’t Pronounce Are Hidden Gems John Downes <p>I was strolling down the wine aisle last week when my eyes settled on a label. It sent me loopy! Its cute line drawing of an ancient castle drew my attention but those words...those unpronounceable words&hellip;Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh! If I&rsquo;m struggling to cope imagine what poor Joe and Josephine Public are thinking, was my first thought. Where&rsquo;s the wine from, what&rsquo;s the grape, is it dry, sweet or medium? It&rsquo;s a brave guy that takes this bottle off the shelf. The pity is, this sweet wine is well worth taking home. Just in case you&rsquo;re wondering, the wine in front of me was Chateau Arricau-Bordes, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The wine comes from south-west France; Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh is located in the same production area as Madiran, not a million miles from Toulouse, the nearest landmark to the east. The Madiran vineyards are well known for their red wines (made from the Tannat grape) whereas Pacherenc du Vic Bilh is relatively unknown; the simple rule is, Madiran&rsquo;s the name for the red wines of the region, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh is the name for the whites. Pacherenc&rsquo; is from an ancient word meaning &lsquo;vines&rsquo; whilst Vic-Bilh relates to the &lsquo;supporting stakes&rsquo;, we&rsquo;re told. Are we any wiser? Probably not but getting to know this wine a little better will bring rewards.<br /> The grapes that make Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh sweeties are Petit Manseng and Gros Manseng, the local varieties that respond admirably to the clay limestone soils. The grapes are left on the vines past the normal harvest date and into the autumn when the warm dry days and the drying winds work their magic to concentrate the sugars, making the grapes look more raisin-like as the autumn lengthens.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> A series of hand picked selections take place from the end of October to the end of December ensuring the sweet grapes are carefully picked at the optimum time and that the wine takes on its wonderful apricot and candied fruit aromas and flavours. As with all top sweeties, having enough acidity to balance the sugar is the key; happily Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh sweeties have a crisp, zippy acidity so there are no cloying sugars on the finish of this Southern Belle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> If you see a dry version of Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh on your local shelf grab it. Made from the same grape varieties, it&rsquo;s much lighter than its sweet counterpart but, as the grapes were picked during August and September it carries an extra kick of acidity. Intriguingly, dry &lsquo;PVB&rsquo; still boasts the grapes&rsquo; attractive floral aromas.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> So, back to the sweet wine &hellip; ignore the complicated label, clock the wonderful golden colour through the clear bottle and pour yourself a glass of this cracking sweetie &hellip; &lsquo;bet you&rsquo;ll pour a second!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 340 Masters of Wine in the world is a corporate entertainer,cspeaker, television and radio broadcaster and writer on wine. Check out John&rsquo;s website at <a href=""></a>. Follow him on Twitter</em><a href=""><em> @JOHNDOWNESMW</em></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="">Read more from John Downes&rsquo; acclaimed NOBULL wine column here.</a></p> Tue, 06 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6837 Where to Find Great Garnacha, Part Two Snooth Editorial <p>Easy-going Garnacha is 2016&rsquo;s red wine grape du jour. While savvy growers have brought Garnacha to all corners of the globe, there are five distinguished designations of origin in Spain that the grape calls home. Last week we highlighted one of them, DO Cari&ntilde;ena. You can read more about DO Cari&ntilde;ena and its signature fountain of wine <a href=""><strong>here</strong></a>. But like all family trees, Garnacha has roots that branch in many different directions. Today we turn our attention to two more tiny and mighty ancestral Garnacha regions, DO Campo de Borja and DO Calatayud.<br /> <strong>DO Campo de Borja</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> DO Campo de Borja is due north of Cari&ntilde;ena. Monks dominated viticulture in Campo de Borja through the 19th century. Campo de Borja (meaning &quot;field of Borja&rdquo;) is the name of both the appellation and the area&rsquo;s largest town. Here you&rsquo;ll find five thousand hectares of Garnacha under vine, most of which are fifty or more years old. In fact, the oldest vines in DO Campo de Borja date back to 1145. The region is nestled in the Ebro Valley at the foothills of Moncayo mountain. Warm air is sucked into the mountain slopes and mixes with weather systems which results in rainfall. This doesn&rsquo;t happen terribly often, as the annual rainfall in DO Campo de Borja is around fifteen inches. Fortunately, old Garnacha roots can retain moisture for eons. Extreme heat is tempered by the cierzo -- a cold, dry, northwest wind which also plays a role in DO Cari&ntilde;ena. The cierzo cools the Garnacha grapes and concentrates their flavors.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> There are three distinct areas within DO Campo de Borja. You can define them as the low, middle and high vineyard areas. The low-lying area is 350 to 450 meters above sea level. It is here that grapes mature early to create warm, powerful, and aromatic wines. The middle area is 450 to 550 meters above sea level. Here the vineyards are at their most dense, supported by soils from the Ebro River tributary known as La Huecha. Gently curved slopes and sun exposure create well-structured and juicy wines. Finally, the highest vineyard area is 550 to 700 meters above sea level, closest to Moncayo mountain&rsquo;s foothills. This area makes incredibly rich and age-worthy reds, some of which are oaked. Limestone and iron soils dominate. These wines are available at sensational values.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Before an afternoon of tasting, enotourists must visit DO Campo de Borja&rsquo;s famed wine museum. A visit to the museum will solidify your understanding of the Moncayo mountain&rsquo;s magical sway over the vineyard terrain. In fact, the museum is located at the foot of Moncaya mountain. Add this stop to your travel itinerary stat.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here to learn more about DO Campo de Borja.</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>DO Calatayud</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The eastern tip of DO Calatayud borders DO Cari&ntilde;ena, and it neighbors DO Campo de Borja to the south. The area achieved DO status in 1989, and its name, Calatayud, has roots in the Arabic word for castle (qalat). The region is home to sixteen wineries covering 8,000 acres, sixty percent of which are planted with Garnacha. High altitude (800 to 900 meters), steady winds, hilly terrain and ancient vines create thick-skinned grapes and wines that can age to perfection. The landscape undulates, which makes hand-harvesting a necessity. Weaving tractors through these old vines would be nearly impossible. Here, your Garnacha is grown among plantations of almond, cherry, olive, apple, pear and peach trees. Loose, rocky soils live among the limestone. There is a good chance that you&rsquo;ll spot one or some of these notes in your next glass of DO Calatayud Garnacha.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The local wine authority, the Consejo Regulador, has set wine quality standards based on vine age. Those grown from vines fifty years old or older are given the classification &ldquo;Calatayud Superior&rdquo; and are highly sought. Older vines mean lower yields, and thus increased selectivity and concentration when it comes to the grapes that make your glass spin. The grapes here are precious, hallowed even. This is because harsh weather conditions (extremely hot summers and cold winters) subject the vines to damage. Many grape soldiers are lost, but those who survive make it count.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> When it comes to travel, the Ruta del Vino Calatayud (wine route) is designed for passionate enotourists who wish to be fully immersed in wine history past and present. Just an hour from Madrid, DO Calatayud offers fine dining, luxurious accommodations, and of course fine wine. After you&rsquo;ve had your fill of wine, make sure not to miss the nearby hot springs!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here to learn more about DO Calatayud.</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Garnacha Day is September 16th. Celebrate the right way! <a href="">Click here for details about our exclusive virtual tasting.</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo credit: <a href=""><strong>Wines of Garnacha</strong></a></p> Fri, 02 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6836 Where to Find the Best Garnacha, Part One Snooth Editorial <p>Garnacha has arrived. Wine drinkers demand varietal Garnacha bottles and ask for the grape by name. Garnacha delivers versatility and character. Her gently styled dark fruit flavors pair with a broad range of dishes, and stand on their own. Now that we&rsquo;ve established Garnacha as a go-to grape, we turn our attention to location. Where will we find the best expressions of Garnacha? What names should we look for on the label? This three part series, published over a period of three weeks, will highlight the top five Spanish Garnacha producing regions. Each one of these Denominaci&oacute;n de Origen, or wine appellations, brings a little something different to the table. Sense of place is important to every wine. Its identification brings our wine experiences to new levels. What&rsquo;s important to remember: Garnacha is indigenous to these key regions. And the key regions have brought Garnacha from overlooked blending grape to varietal bottle show-stopper.<br /> We will start with a deep look at the first one of the five, DOP Cari&ntilde;ena.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>DOP Cari&ntilde;ena</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Located in the Arag&oacute;n region, DOP Cari&ntilde;ena has a rich winemaking history and tradition dating back centuries to the time of the Romans, when inhabitants in the town of Car&aelig; (later renamed Cari&ntilde;ena) drank wine mixed with honey before the 3rd century BC. In 1585, King Phillip II visited the town of Cari&ntilde;ena and locals filled the fountains in the town square with wine instead of water as a grand gesture. To this day there is an annual September wine festival to commemorate this historic event, and the fountains run with wine for the occasion. In 1692, Cari&ntilde;ena hosted the talks that resulted in the Statute of the Vine, an early attempt to limit production in an effort to increase quality, a practice which continues today as winemaking regions look to improve the attractiveness of their wines. During the phylloxera infestation of European vineyards, the grape growers of DOP Cari&ntilde;ena were largely able to fight off the disastrous pest, leading many winemakers from other areas of Europe who were not so fortunate or successful to settle in the region. In 1932, DOP Cari&ntilde;ena became one of the oldest appellations in Europe to achieve protected status.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> While most of the vineyards in DOP Cari&ntilde;ena are now planted to Garnacha, the region does originally derive its name from the Cari&ntilde;ena (Carignan) grape that dominated early plantings. As Garnacha has proven itself to be well suited to the climate of the region, it has largely replaced the original plantings in Cari&ntilde;ena. Still, the Cari&ntilde;ena grape is used in many blends and varietal wines made in DOP Cari&ntilde;ena.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> DOP Cari&ntilde;ena is home to temperature extremes though it is largely considered to possess a warm, continental climate. Rainfall is low as uncommon seasonal rain spreads across Ebro plain into the mountains, leading to the region being generally arid. The summers are hot during the day and cool at night due to the steady northern winds known as the cierzo that dry out humidity and allow wine grapes to develop without fear of moisture-born scourges. The varied growing conditions of DOP Cari&ntilde;ena create a wide variety of microclimates in the region, providing the flexibility for a range of wine grapes to thrive, from Garnacha, Cari&ntilde;ena, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah for the reds, to Macabeo (Viura), Chardonnay, Garnacha Blanca and Moscatel for the whites.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The soil in the region is predominantly gravel with pockets of slate, hard clay and sandstone. The gravel soils are particularly well suited to the region&rsquo;s low rainfall, as it retains water well and is able to drain any excess from periodic torrential downpours.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> And how are the wines? Of course for a region with such history there is a tradition of careful and exacting winemaking, resulting in wines of excellent quality and fortunately for us, incredible value. Look for Garnacha from Cari&ntilde;ena to experience all of the soft elegance, delicate spice and zesty acidity that this region has to offer, with plenty of approachable red and black fruit flavors to please any palate.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here to learn more about DOP Cari&ntilde;ena.</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Garnacha Day is September 16th. Celebrate the right way! <a href="">Click here for details about our exclusive virtual tasting.</a></strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong><a href="">Photo credit: </a><a href=""><strong>Wines of Garnacha</strong></a></strong></p> Tue, 30 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6833 Superior Red Wines for Summertime Snooth Editorial <p>White wines are a summer classic, but it has been a long summer. There is a good chance that you are surfeit with white wine by now. Ultra-hip ros&eacute; and <a href=""><strong>orange wines</strong></a> aren&rsquo;t your only options. Be a true trendsetter and cozy up with a late summer red. Summer calls for diaphanous red wine grapes that allow fresh fruits to shine without the deep, dark heaviness associated with winter wines. There will be plenty of time for cigar box notes, forest floors, and gripping tannins. Right now, in the dead of August, you&rsquo;ve got to keep things light. There are plenty of airy red wines to weather the late summer heat -- and the web&rsquo;s top wine writers have rounded them up just for you. Their suggestions are broken out by specific grapes, specific regions, and specific wines. Pro tip: Don&rsquo;t be afraid to pop one of these puppies in the fridge. Leading wine expert Jancis Robinson says you can put open bottles of white or red wine in the fridge to slow down oxidation and preserve freshness.<br /> <b><i>Summertime Red Grapes</i></b><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cabernet Franc</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>When it&#39;s hot out and ros&eacute; doesn&#39;t fit the bill, there&#39;s no summer red better than Cabernet Franc. This parent of Cabernet Sauvignon is lighter in body than its offspring, but still offers all the earthy, spicy flavors and tannins that red wine drinkers love. In essence, Loire Cab Francs like those from Anjou and Chinon offer the comforting red wine hug of fall with the lightness of summer, and red fruit flavors that pair beautifully with whatever is flying off the grill. Plus, they&#39;re budget friendly. My go-to is Olga Raffault Chinon, a peppery classic from the central Loire Valley that ages beautifully--I buy it anytime it&#39;s on the shelf!</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Laura Burgess</strong>, <a href=""><strong>The (Mis)Adventures of Laura. Uncorked.</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Grenache/Garnacha</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>My favorite red wine for summer is grenache/garnacha. It is grown around the world, primarily in France, Spain, Italy, the United States, and Australia. Often used as a blending grape, it shows well on its own and is enjoyed by many because of its fruit-forwardness, lower acidity, and softer tannin. This past year, I have been exploring grenache/garnacha from various regions and at different price points and happily discovered the 2014 Madrigal Family Winery Estate Garnacha, Calistoga, Napa Valley ($50), the winery&#39;s fourth vintage of garnacha. Chris Madrigal, third-generation vintner, fell in love with Spanish varietal wines on a family trip to Spain 10 years ago and decided to plant both garnacha and tempranillo at his 40-acre estate vineyard in Calistoga. With only a fraction of an acre planted with garnacha, Madrigal currently makes only about 50 cases. However, due to its popularity, Madrigal planted more and production will increase to about 200 cases once the vines begin to produce grapes. Madrigal&#39;s 100% garnacha has medium body and tannin and spends 18 months aged in French oak, 50% new. While deceptively light in color, Madrigal&#39;s garnacha is big on fruity aromas and flavors like juicy, ripe black cherry, cranberry, raspberry, and strawberry. With mouth-warming, peppery spice and food-friendly acidity, pair this garnacha with ribs, chorizo, pork and beef barbecue, grilled and roasted meats, and a variety of cheeses.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Elizabeth Smith</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Travel Wine Chick</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Summer&rsquo;s heat often makes me reach for a glass of ros&eacute; or white wine to cool down and enjoy after work. But at dinnertime I am more likely to open up a bold summer red. In warm weather, few grapes can beat grenache (garnacha in Spain). Any other avowed Francophile will agree that&nbsp; C&ocirc;tes-du-Rh&ocirc;ne is an easy call for grenache, with value wines in the under $20 range and high end bottles for the connoisseur. One of my personal favorites is actually from the Mclaren Vale in Southern Australia. Eclipse by Noon is a Grenache-shiraz-graciano blend that is big, bold, fruity perfection-&nbsp; an ideal example of the Grenache grape&rsquo;s flexibility. Often sold as a cold-weather wine due to the massive flavors, when served properly chilled (60-64 degrees Farenheit or 16-18 degrees Celsius) and decanted, this wine offers massive enjoyment and pairing for grilled meats and summer evenings</em>.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jim van Bergen</strong>, <a href=""><strong>JvB UnCorked</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Grignolino</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>The Grignolino grape variety makes ideal red wines for summer. It has exhilarating, pretty notes of rose hips, red currant and sour cherry with mouth-watering acidity and an overall lightness of being that is highly prized by those who love it. Its home is considered to be Monferrato Casalese DOC, in Piedmont (Piemonte), where marl/clay dominant soils typically make wines with more stuffing than their Asti versions, where the soils have more sand. I recommend serving these wines slightly chilled with a quick 15 minutes in the refrigerator. Grignolino wines are ideal with anything fatty, such as charcuterie and cheese, and as one can imagine, is a perfect picnic wine. The classic Piemontese pairing is Grignolino and Vitello Tonnato, a dish that consists of cold, thinly sliced veal with a caper and lemon mayo sauce. I highly recommend the 2014 Cantine Valpane Euli Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese DOC. The acidity is not too harsh but still crisp and refreshing, with a lovely nose of spice and the classic rose hip note. It will truly blow your mind to taste such an unknown delicate red that gives so much pleasure that you&#39;ll be wondering, &quot;Where have you been all my life?!&quot; I bet it will not only dominate your summer wine choices but you may even consider adding it to your colder weather aperitif lineup as well.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cathrine Todd</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Dame Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>GSM Blends</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>With each passing day bringing the end of summer ever closer, most of us are trying to grab as much outdoor fun as we can. For most people that involves cookouts, picnics or some sort of food themed festivities. Whatever you&rsquo;re eating and serving your guests, wine is only going to make the celebration more jovial. If you&rsquo;re grilling, late summer sipping is about pairing wine with burgers, flank steak, or pizzas. If on the other hand you&rsquo;re having a picnic you&rsquo;re more likely to be pairing with fried chicken, muffuletta sandwiches and hearty grain salads. In either case you&rsquo;ll want a wine that stands up to them. I look towards GSM blends because they&rsquo;re often loaded with eager and varied fruit flavors that will marry well with a smorgasbord. While GSM&rsquo;s are most synonymous with the Rhone region of France there are other countries which make notable examples, such as Australia. That said anywhere these three grapes flourish a terrifc GSM has the potential to be produced. This example from Washington State is perfect for your late summer dining pleasure. <strong>Maryhill Winery 2012 Marvell &ldquo;GSM&rdquo; ($33)</strong>: This classic blend of Syrah, (37%), Grenache (34%), and Mourvedre (29%) was produced from fruit sourced at Hattrup Farms in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA of Washington State. Violet and black plum aromas provide a welcoming entry point. Red and black raspberry and cherry flavors dominate the palate along with black pepper spice. Hints of smoked meat and a dusting of baler&rsquo;s cholate are present on the long, velvety finish. This juicy, fruity, food loving wine combines great curb appeal with more than reasonable depth and complexity to keep both casual wine drinkers and seasoned winos interested. If you&rsquo;re pouring it at a late summer blowout it&rsquo;s likely you have friends in both camps, This GSM from Maryhill will make both of those groups happy.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Gabe Sasso</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Gabe&rsquo;s View</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Zweigelt</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>For sure, summer sippers need not be limited to only white wine and ros&eacute;. Zweigelt, pronounced TSVYE-gelt, is a red Austrian grape that generally produces light and nimble wines with fresh fruit flavors and good acid structure. These wines are versatile on the table and great for summer sipping. If variety is the spice of life, then look no further than Lodi, California. The region&rsquo;s diversity of soil types and Mediterranean climate allows for a wide range of grape varieties, with over 75 unique wine grapes in commercial production. It should come as no surprise that one of those grapes would be Zweigelt. Hatton Daniels, a producer specializing in small production wines, sourced fruit for this wine from the famed Mokelumne Glen vineyard. This small, family-owned vineyard specializes in German and Austrian grape varieties. I have had a number of exciting wines from this site, so be sure to put this grower on your radar. As for the 2015 Hatton Daniels Zweigelt, it pours a brilliant, deep purple color with flavors redolent of sour macerated cherries, fresh blueberries, and floral perfume, accented by a dash of black pepper and cooking spice, all propped up by a pleasant zing of acidity. It is light , fun, and lean, closing with good energy and lift. Enjoy this delicious wine at cellar temperature (i.e., around 55 &deg;F). Only 72 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Lodi California. Vineyard: Mokelumne Glen Other info: SRP $24, ABV 11.9%, zero-sulfur, cork enclosure.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Dezel Quillen</strong>, <a href=""><strong>My Vine Spot</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <b><i>Summertime Regions</i></b><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Beaujolais<em> </em>(but not Nouveau)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>I don&rsquo;t know about you, but when the temperature rises to near triple-digits I&rsquo;m more likely to reach for a glass of white wine or a ros&eacute; than a glass of red wine. A gin and tonic is not entirely out of the question. But, there are times during the summer months when I do get a hankering for a red wine. So, here is what I look for in a red wine to sip during the summer months. A lighter body, smooth tannins, a modest alcohol level and plenty of flavor. Smooth tannins and plenty of flavor because I like my red wine slightly chilled when the weather is hot and chilling exaggerates tannins and can mute flavors. So I choose a variety that is fruity, from a region known to produce elegant wines with silky tannins. The grape: Gamay Noir. The region: Beaujolais. The Cru: Fleurie. My current favorite is Stephane Aviron 2011 Fleurie Vieilles Vignes Domaine de la Madri&egrave;re. Light body, generous spice and fruit flavors, smooth tannins. For many years I thought I didn&#39;t like Beaujolais, because of an unfortunate Beaujolais Nouveau experience, but then I discovered Beaujolais Cru wines. That discovery has expanded my warm weather red wine options. If you haven&#39;t tried Beaujolais &mdash; you really should. There is plenty of warm weather left this summer.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Nancy Brazil</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Pull That Cork</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>I think Beaujolais is perfect year-round, but it&rsquo;s a super-smart choice for summer drinking. The grape used in Beaujolais is gamay, which if you age if for a few years, takes on a pinot noir quality. But upon release, Beaujolais is ready for summer!&nbsp; Morgon seems to be a familiar choice for cru Beaujolais, but for summer, step out of your comfort zone and try the softer, more floral feminine Beaujolais from Fleurie or Saint Amour. For the budget-conscious, for under $15 try Beaujolais-Villages, it&rsquo;s fresh, fun and fruity, perfect for the beach, poolside or pairing with grilled vegetables for the Labor Day end-of-summer barbecue.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Nanette Eaton</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Wine Harlots</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>New Zealand Pinot Noir</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>With the exception of Beaujolais, New Zealand Pinot Noir is the absolute best red wine that can be chilled to drink in the late summer. Its fruity characteristics of strawberries and raspberries are the perfect match for the warm, humid, summer air.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Phil Kampe</strong>, <a href=""><strong>The Wine Hub</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <b><i>Summertime Wines</i></b><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Borra Vineyards Heritage 2013</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Before there was air conditioning or refrigeration, people drank wine. Look for a field blend to bring you a summer sipper with an historic sense of place. Field blends are wines made from a vineyard where comingled vines of different varieties act as a team to produce delicious wines in harmony with each other. They are picked and vinified together regardless of their own variety. A field blend may need several decades to coalesce. They are not common in today&rsquo;s modern age of production schedules and market driven plantings. Most exist because they are serendipitously delicious. Since they are harder to find, let me recommend the <strong>2013 Borra Vineyards Heritage</strong>, which&nbsp; is a field blend of 70% Barbera, 10% Carignane, 10% Petite Sirah and 10% Alicante Bouschet. These grapes come from 90 plus year old vines in the Mokelumne River sub AVA in Lodi. Field picked and co-fermented, this combination of grapes produces a wine of warm welcoming primary aromas with deep black spiced fruit underneath. Driven by the acidity of the Barbera, it is earthy and delicious and will stand up to many warm weather foods like barbecue or my favorite no cook summer meal: Charcuterie. The name &quot;Heritage&quot; Steve Borra told us, was inspired by his memories of his dad. Steve describes a scene of his dad who always had a dry salami hanging by a barrel in the basement. He would funnel wine from the barrel to bottle and drink deeply of his field blend. That sounds like a lovely summer sipper supper.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Liza Swift</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Brix Chix</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Cantina di Mogoro San Bernadino Monica di Sardegna DOC</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>The dog days of summer are upon us. As the temperature continues to hover at 100 degrees Fahrenheit it seems most wines worth considering are white or ros&eacute;. However, summer is also the cookout season and there is a bounty of red wines that pair great with summer foods to help you beat the continuous summer heat. One of my summer red wine favorites is <strong>Cantina di Mogoro San Bernadino Monica di Sardegna DOC</strong>. It is crafted of 85% Monica and 15% Bovale (aka Mourvedre); Monica is an indigenous grape to Sardegna that dates back to the days of Spanish Aragon domination in Sardegna. It is a beautiful wine in the glass, pouring a bright ruby red with intense purple highlights. It opens with a rustic racking off aroma quickly giving way to dried red fruits along with fresh blue berries and plums, notes of fresh cut violets and baking spice highlighted by nutmeg, and lightly roasted hazelnuts. The versatility of this wine reveals itself on the palate; fresh, yet complex with layers of flavors evolving as they move across the palate. Bright acidity is balanced with well-structured, integrated tannins; medium in body with a long, pleasant finish. Cantina di Mogoro&rsquo;s San Bernadino pairs with a wide variety of summer cuisines such as seafood and shellfish (common pairings with Monica in Sardegna), grilled meats such as chicken, pork and a lean fillet, as well as perfect for hamburgers, hot dogs, and summer salads. Additionally, its 13% ABV does not weight you down. Give this wine a little chill for optimum enjoyment with your summer cuisine. Furthermore, as summer moves into fall San Bernardino is a perfect transition wine. The grape Monica is lacking in weight and texture so Cantina di Mogoro does two things to assist Monica: first, they blend it with Bovale, adding weight and tannins; second, though 90% of the wine is aged in stainless steel, they age 10% of this wine in chestnut barrels. The chestnut barrels add a touch of roasted nut flavor increasing its food pairings to include pastas with red sauces, pizza, and a variety of braised and grilled meats. So pick up a bottle and let me know what you think.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Michelle Williams</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Rockin Red Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Division Winemaking Company Gamay Noir &quot;Les Petits Fers&quot; 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>I love sipping on some slightly chilled Gamay reds during the dog days of summer. While my favorite Gamays come from the Crus of Beaujolais, Oregon is home to America&#39;s most promising iterations of this bright, red-fruited, refreshing red wine. Division Winemaking Company&#39;s 2015 Gamay Noir &quot;Les Petits Fers&quot; is exactly what I look for in a summer sipping red wine: light tannins, lip-smacking acidity, bright red fruit. This wine also boasts complex elements of earth, mineral, baking spices and flowers. When served slightly chilled, this is absolutely delicious and, at about $25, worth every penny.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Isaac James Baker, <a href=""><strong>Reading, Writing &amp; Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Domaine Cheveau &ldquo;Les Champs Grill&eacute;s&rdquo; Saint-Amour 2012</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>It&rsquo;s still hot. No, it&rsquo;s still sultry, the heat a murky pall over the land. I want a red wine with cut-crystal clarity. A red wine that can take a chill. A red wine right for salad. I want Gamay. The grape&rsquo;s levity keeps it refreshing, while its berry and spice notes keep it interesting. Let&rsquo;s go with one from Saint-Amour, the northernmost Cru of Beaujolais. I recently opened the <strong>2012 Domaine Cheveau &ldquo;Les Champs Grill&eacute;s&rdquo; Saint-Amour</strong> (yes, &ldquo;grilled countryside&rdquo;&mdash;it seemed right for the moment). It was peppery with a ruby-grapefruit kick, like the spritz of the peel squeezed into the juice of the flesh. Its garnet-hued robe had a lilting berry sweetness offset by trenchant acidity. Refreshing! Only a few hundred cases of that particular wine make it to U.S. shores, so look for other options from this Cru. By the way, Saint-Amour is also known as The Romantic Cru (amour&mdash;get it?), so you might want to pick up an extra bottle now for Valentine&rsquo;s Day. Because February&rsquo;s just around the corner.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Meg Houston Maker</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Maker&#39;s Table</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Domaine Grosbois Clos du Noyer 2012</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>While I appreciate crisp, refreshing ros&eacute;s and light whites to pair with the heat and intense humidity of Virginia summers, light to medium-bodied red wines made from Cabernet Franc are my go to wines to pair with grilled meats.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The distinctive cabernet francs from producers like Domaine Grosbois in the Chinon region of France&rsquo;s Loire Valley are my favorite red wines, especially for summer evening cookouts.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Domaine Grosbois has been family owned since 1820.&nbsp; Today, proprietor and winemaker Nicolas Grosbois organically farms 22 acres of vineyards, divided into 13 different plots.&nbsp; Grosbois makes seven distinctive, site-driven wines from these plots of Cabernet Franc.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The thought-provoking Clos du Noyer is one of my favorites from Nicolas Grosbois.&nbsp; Made from 40 year-old vines grown in clay and limestone, Grosbois fermented this wine in open cement vats.&nbsp; The 2012 is elegant, layered and beautiful; medium-bodied; ruby color in the glass; opened with aromas of Brett that disappeared quickly, followed by cherry, spice, and black tea with flavors of violet, black cherry, red currents around earthy minerality.&nbsp; Even better paired with rare grilled lamb chops and a mild summer evening with friends.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Frank Morgan</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Drink What YOU Like</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Donnafugata Sherazade Nero d&#39;Avola 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>As we approach the end of summer and shift our wine desires to more reds and fuller bodied reds at that, there is still plenty of time to be considering and drinking red wine in the summer months. It&#39;s not all about whites and rose&#39; all the time. The renowned Donnafugata winery of Sicily has their first release of a 2015 Sherazade Nero d&#39;Avola to the United States and I was fortunate to get to sample this wine in time to share with everyone. Nero d&#39;Avola, the indigenous grape of Sicily, is a perfect accompaniment to summer fare with the Sherazade. Ruby red with a beautiful bouquet combined with fresh and fruity notes of strawberries and cherries with an added dash of pepper. Overall a smooth wine with gentle tannins. There is no wonder that the wines of Sicily are some of the hottest wines on the Italian wine scene right now and there is plenty of variety for everyone to enjoy.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jennifer Martin</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Vino Travels</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Heitz Cellar Napa Valley Grignolino</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Oh how I enjoy a chillable red wine! Especially during the summer when the grilling of meats takes center stage, and I seek a heartier alternative to a light bodied ros&eacute;.&nbsp; For a few years now, one of my favorites has been the <strong>Heitz Cellar Napa Valley Grignolino</strong>.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Grignolino (pronounced &ldquo;Green-o-lean-o&rdquo;) is an indigenous grape from the Piedmont region in Northern Italy. Though it&rsquo;s considered a minor grape in Italy, there are two DOCs devoted to the grape. Outside of Italy there are only a handful of Grignolino vines.&nbsp; One of those places is the Napa Valley.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I was acquainted with the grape while tasting at Heitz Cellar, an iconic Napa Valley winery renowned for its world-class Cabernet Sauvignon.&nbsp; When the Heitz family purchased their first 8-acre vineyard in 1961, it was mostly planted to Grignolino. Rather than replant to the imminently more profitable Cabernet Sauvignon, the Heitz&rsquo; decided to keep the variety alive. Heitz crafts both ros&eacute; and red wine from the grape.&nbsp; The red is a fun, and charming wine that shows a delightful light-bodied strawberry, floral character with lively acidity that is accented by a hint of orange rind and nuanced minerality. Pair this vivacious chillable red wine with charcuterie, grilled meats, or pizza. It&rsquo;s a great picnic wine! <strong>(12.5% abv SRP - $22.)</strong></em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Martin Redmond</strong>, <a href=""><strong>ENOFYLZ Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Jeremy Wine Co. Sangiovese 2013</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Hot out? Still want wine? Then think wine regions with warm weather as inspiration for summer reds. Try grapes like Nebbiolo, Grenache (Garnacha), Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, and Tempranillo - all are classics, especially if you&#39;re enjoying grilled meals, as I often do in the summer. Chill the reds to tone them down and add a bit of refreshing coolness. A good area to look at domestically is Lodi, with a wine like the 2013 Sangiovese from Jeremy Wine Co as one to search out.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Kovas Palubinskas</strong>, <a href=""><strong>50 States of Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Liparita V Block from Yountville 2013</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>When I think of summer reds, I usually think of Southern Rh&ocirc;ne. Grenache, Mourvedre, and Cinsault never disappoint with fresh acid and lively fruit. But the question posed was not about our &quot;go-to&quot; reds but more superlative in nature. What is the biggest red wine still suitable for summer? When I think in those terms, I think of pairing with a grilled steak and air conditioning, both staples in the Texas heat. I think of Cabernet Sauvignon, which in turn leads to Napa Valley. Earlier this summer I sampled a few Napa Cabs; some monsters made me wish I&#39;d held on until the weather changed. The 2013 Liparita V Block from Yountville, however, worked without requiring a lower thermostat. Bold yet balanced, youthful enough to maintain fresh fruit. It begins with a burst of blackberries and opens into anise, structured with smooth tannins. This wine would pair well with BBQ ribs or grilled ribeye, flip-flops or a more formal affair.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Alissa Leenher</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Sahmmelier Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Two Shepherds Carignan 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>When I saw the summer red assignment, I immediately thought of Two Shepherds 2014 Carignan from the ancient vine, Bechthold Vineyard.&nbsp; While it is billed as a Rhone variety, it has a similarity to a Cru Beaujolais, making it a light, fruity and low in alcohol wine with red juicy fruit, hints of roses and a little spice.&nbsp; It is new with very limited availability (only 35 cases from the oldest surviving Cinsault vineyard in the world).<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Throw in the fact that this &ldquo;one-man micro winery&rdquo; is passion of William Allen, a former wine writer, blogger and garagiste for years before moving into commercial production in 2010, and you have an even better story.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Melanie Ofenloch</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Dallas Wine Chick</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Troon Vineyard Zinfandel 2013</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Rain, snow or sizzling summer sunshine, we grill year-round.&nbsp; Savoring the flavor that only a flaming grill can draw from a myriad of meats and vegetables (and all sorts of pizzas) is simply something that the palate consistently craves. Admittedly, we take advantage of the Willamette Valley&#39;s sensational summer months, and we happily grill nearly every day. We love to pair a variety of white wine with a variety of grilled pizzas that have olive oil-based sauces - piling them high with vegetables, and oftentimes, loading them up with juicy summer fruits. But when grilling pizzas with a red sauce, or meats that are slathered in one of our many house-created BBQ sauces, we ultimately enjoy pacifying our palates with a red wine - and we reach for zippy, zesty Zinfandels. We recently pulled the cork on a 2013 vintage Zinfandel from <a href=""><strong>Troon Vineyard</strong></a> and paired it with our fresh-off-the-grill baby back pork ribs that were doused in our very own sweet-n-spicy BBQ sauce. With essential ingredients such as sweet chili sauce, ketchup, brown sugar and copious amounts of ginger, the Zinfandel&#39;s firm tannins, bright acidity and lush full body stood up perfectly to the sassy sauce. Aromas and flavors of fresh raspberry, blackberry, cherry and plum were highlighted by alluring zesty fall spices and black peppercorns - balancing the wine (and the sauce) to perfection. Zinfandel has always been the focus at Troon Vineyard, located in Southern Oregon&#39;s Applegate Valley AVA.&nbsp; Founder and previous owner, Dick Troon, seemed to have an eye for the future of wine in southern Oregon as he planted Zinfandel vines back in 1972 - Oregon&#39;s wine industry was just beginning to take shape. Read about more Troon Vineyard on <a href=""><strong></strong></a>.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Julia Crowley</strong>, <a href=""><strong>The Real Wine Julia</strong></a></p> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6832 Value Wines for Summer Gabe Sasso <p>August is here -- along with warm, steamy weather for most of the country. For some that means switching over to chilled cocktails or beer. What it should really mean for wine drinkers is carefully selecting wines that are well made, delicious, value driven and refreshing. The last thing anyone wants to sip in hot weather is a big, bloated and ponderous wine. Crisp acid along with juicy, thirst quenching flavors are what you should be aiming for.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> With all of that in mind I tasted through dozens of wines in different settings recently. Through it all I was looking for selections that had the qualities I desire in my summer wines. There&rsquo;s nothing wrong with a summer sipper or porch pounder on occasion, but those get boring pretty quickly. Most of the time I need a bit more than that to keep my tongue and my brain more engaged. From all of that tasting I culled the &ldquo;sweet 16&rdquo; below for your enjoyment, cheers!<br /><br /> <br /> There&rsquo;s no need to settle for overly simple wines, there are plenty of choices out there that combine all of the above qualities with a level of complexity and sophistication to keep savvy wine drinkers engaged and coming back for more. Desiring a wine that&rsquo;s refreshing doesn&rsquo;t mean you have to stick to white, though there are plenty that fit the bill. Ros&eacute; can provide the best qualities of both red and white grapes, so often they&rsquo;re the perfect choice. While it&rsquo;s certainly best to drink less red in the heat, there&rsquo;s no reason to avoid them altogether. Fruit driven expressions that aren&rsquo;t overly burdened with oak work well. Those selections often benefit when you throw them in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so to give them a little bit of a chill.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>White Knight 2014 Viognier</strong></a> ($12)</div><br /> <div><br /> In addition to Viognier (87%), small amounts of French Colombard (9%), and Muscat (4%) were included in the blend. All of the fruit is from Clarksburg, California. White peach aromas light up the nose. The palate is stuffed with a bevy of fresh and dried apricot flavors as well as hints of cr&egrave;me fraiche. Mesquite honey and a touch of toasted almond emerge on the mellifluous finish.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Villa Gemma 2014 Cerasuolo d&rsquo;Abruzzo DOC</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> I recently spent the better part of a week in Abruzzo Italy at Masciarelli. Their beautiful portfolio of wines includes this incredibly proportionate white blend which I enjoyed numerous times during my stay. Three indigenous varieties (Trebbiano, Cococciola and Pecorino) are blended together to create this wine. The nose shows off white flowers and yellow fruits. Loads of fresh fruit flavors dominate the palate with golden delicious apple, pear and banana all playing a role. Minerals and spice dominate the long finish. Whether by itself or paired with cheeses or light foods this is an outrageously good value.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Basile Arteteca 2014</strong></a> ($17)</div><br /> <div><br /> Artetca is a blend of Vermentino, Viognier and Petit Manseng. Yellow melon aromas are tinged by bits of thyme. Lemon zest, hazelnut and peach are present on the succulent palate. Sour yellow fruits, spice notes and a hint of tangerine rind emerge on the crisp, clean finish.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Masottina Prosecco Treviso Brut DOC</strong></a> ($17)</div><br /> <div><br /> This Prosecco is entirely Glera from the province of Treviso in the Veneto. After fermentation and tank aging it spends a month in bottle prior to release. The nose is a m&eacute;lange of citrus and orchard fruits with bits of savory herbs present as well. Ripe, juicy citrus and fleshy yellow fruit flavors are evident on the generous palate. The clean, crisp finish is above average in length. Sparkling wine makes most reasonable people happy, here&rsquo;s a well-priced example for summer enjoyment.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Domaine Vincent Car&ecirc;me 2014 Vouvray Spring</strong></a>&nbsp;($19.99)</div><br /> <div><br /> All of the fruit for this wine (100% Chenin Blanc) came from the Loire Valley. Orchard fruit aromas are joined by hints of orange zest. Anjou pear and white peach dominate the palate. Copious spice and mineral notes mark the long, refreshing finish.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Anaba 2013 Viognier</strong></a> ($28)</div><br /> <div><br /> All of the fruit for this Viognier came from the Landa Vineyard in Sonoma Valley. Lemon ice and apricot aromas light up the nose here. The palate is stuffed with tempting and even keeled yellow fruit flavors. Stone fruits, minerals, spice and a tiny hint of mesquite honey mark the long, lovely finish. This is a well-balanced and remarkably delicious example of Viognier. You may want to chill two bottles.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Masciarelli 2014 Rosato Colline Teatine IGT</strong></a> ($12)</div><br /> <div><br /> This Italian Ros&egrave; from Abruzzo was produced entirely from Montepulciano d&rsquo;Abruzzo. Masciarelli has been producing this offering since 1981. This is intentionally made Ros&eacute; produced from dedicated fruit. It has a beautiful ripe strawberry hue. Somewhat intense aromas of red fruit jump from the nose. Red cherry, strawberry and gentle hints of plum dominate the palate. All of these elements continue on the crisp, refreshing and lip-smacking finish. This wine draws you in for sip after sip with its incredibly appealing aromas and flavors.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chronic Cellars 2015 Pink Pedals Ros&eacute;</strong></a> ($14.99)</div><br /> <div><br /> This Ros&eacute; is made from Grenache (89%) and Syrah (11%) from Paso Robles. Candied cherry and watermelon aromas jump with conviction from the nose of this incredibly accessible and food friendly Ros&eacute;. A tasty m&eacute;lange of red berry flavors is evident through the palate along with a nice complement of spices. Continuing juicy red fruit flavors are in play on the succulent finish.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Hacienda de AR&Iacute;NZANO 2015 Ros&eacute;</strong></a> ($19.99)</div><br /> <div><br /> This offering is entirely Tempranillo. All of the fruit is from the D.O. Pago de Ar&iacute;nzano. This is an intentional ros&eacute; and the fruit was grown, harvested and fermented specifically for this wine. The color is a striking light salmon. Red fruit aromas mark the nose and continue on the palate where wild strawberry and Bing cherry are joined by a hint of tangerine zest and spice. The finish is long and lingering with red fruit flavors and spice continuing. This fresh and balanced wine is best served a couple of degrees warmer than the average Ros&eacute; allowing its complexity and elegance to fully emerge. This is a particularly exceptional value.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Martin Ray 2015 Ros&eacute; of Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($20)</div><br /> <div><br /> This Ros&eacute;, produced using the saignee method, is entirely Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Ripe strawberry aromas are tinged by wisps of sage. Bing cherry, tangerine zest and a wallop of watermelon flavors fill the juicy palate. Bits of savory herbs, white pepper and continued red fruits emerge on the mouthwatering finish. Serve this one ice cold.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vista Hills 2012 Treehouse Orange Wine</strong></a> ($20)</div><br /> <div><br /> This wine was made entirely from skin fermented Pinot Gris grown on their LIVE certified sustainable Estate Vineyard in Willamette Valley Oregon. Being skin fermented it&rsquo;s bigger than your average Ros&eacute; and it shows off terrific structure. Orange and tangerine zest aromas are at play alongside red fruits. The palate is stuffed with red apple, pomegranate and sour cherry. The finish has oodles of depth and precision. You&rsquo;ll be thinking about this wine long after the final sip has disappeared.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Clif Family Winery 2015 Ros&eacute; of Grenache </strong></a>($24)</div><br /> <div><br /> Clif Family&rsquo;s Ros&eacute; is composed entirely of Grenache sourced in Mendocino County. It has a gorgeous light pink color. The friendly nose shows of juicy red fruit aromas. Citrus notes, orchard fruit and strawberry flavors all play a role on the palate. The long and persistent finish is spicy, clean and refreshing.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vento DiMare 2013 Nero D&rsquo;avola</strong></a> ($12)&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This wine is 100% Nero D&rsquo;avola from Sicily. candied black cherry aromas are joined by subtle tar on the nose. Red fruits tinged with black are evident throughout the palate which counter balances dark fruit flavors and a medium weight. Sour black cherry, wisps of earth and spice notes are present on the finish. This versatile wine will work equally well with pizza, burgers or taco Tuesday.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Domaine du Th&eacute;ron Cuv&eacute;e Prestige Malbec</strong></a> ($18)</div><br /> <div><br /> While Argentine Malbec may be more familiar, France is its birthplace. This wine is entirely Malbec from the Cahors region. Aging occurs over a year in 33% new French oak. It&rsquo;s dark and inky in color. Blackberry, raspberry and plum pudding spice aromas are prominent. There&rsquo;s a heft and fullness to the palate but it never strays over the top. Dark fruit flavors rule the day and lead to the earthy, layered finish. If you&rsquo;re grilling red meat this summer, here&rsquo;s your wine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Pike Road 2014 Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($19)</div><br /> <div><br /> All of the fruit (100% Pinot Noir) is from Willamette Valley. &nbsp;For the price point this wine does an excellent job representing Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Red and black fruit aromas are followed by bits of black tea and cherry on the palate. Copious spices, earth and cranberry are present on the finish. Pinot Noir with good varietal typicity is hard to find under $20, count this one among their small number.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Mullan Road Cellars&rsquo; Red Wine Blend</strong></a> ($42)</div><br /> <div><br /> This red blend was produced from fruit sourced in Washington State&rsquo;s Columbia Valley. This fruit forward red blend shows off bold, ripe strawberry aromas. The palate is stuffed with cranberries, blackberry, and wisps of cinnamon. Pomegranate and black pepper spice round out the finish. &nbsp;This will pair well with grilled meats in particular.</div><br /> </p> Fri, 05 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6829 Underrated Wines: Soave John Downes <p>I run the wine courses at one of the UK&rsquo;s leading culinary academies and recently let slip to the chefs that I&rsquo;d matched a herb crusted trout recipe with Soave in a recent magazine article. Their pan faces and deafening silence said it all! To be honest, I wasn&rsquo;t surprised as this dry Italian doesn&rsquo;t have a very good image on English wine shelves. I replied with my usual &ldquo;PTEQ&rdquo; (&lsquo;Pay The Extra Quid&rsquo;) and after that they were open to offers but it was a hard sell. Their description of Soave as a &ldquo;light, neutral, simple, boring&rdquo; white was evidently etched on their Italian wine memories.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I was recently at the 2015 Vintage Preview tasting in Soave, the cobbled, castle-topped town a swift 30 kilometres from Verona in the Venetian hills, and tasted dozens of 2015 Soaves. The chefs&rsquo; tasting note often came to mind as some of the wines were light, neutral and frankly disappointing but, on the other hand, there were some lovely fresh, fruit balanced crackers. OK, these were not cheap but were well worth paying the extra dollar or two for; producers Pieropan, Gini and Stefanini took my eye during my Soave Soiree.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> The Soave hills are stunning, rising majestically from the vineyard plains their contours are dramatically defined by high pergolas, the vine training system of choice for the Soave winemakers. Some vineyards have lower trained vines (guyot) but pergolas dominate the scene, &ldquo;pergolas are better for Garganega, the star grape variety of Soave&rdquo;, is the message. Soave is often 100% Gargenega but Italian law does allow for 30% of other varieties, namely Trebbiano di Soave, Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco, although it&rsquo;s Trebbiano that&rsquo;s generally the blenders&rsquo; choice. &nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The region covers about 7000 hectares and for dry white wine is divided into the Soave D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) vineyards, Soave Classico D.O.C. which are vineyards in the hilly heart of the region and, Soave Superiore D.O.C.G vineyards which are &lsquo;superior&rsquo; high altitude vineyards. If the Superiore vineyard lies within the Classico area, the wine logically takes on the title Soave Superiore Classico D.O.C.G &hellip;. are you still with me? The Italians don&rsquo;t make it easy but as you can guess, the better the vineyard, the better the grapes, the better the wine; PTEQ &nbsp;(&lsquo;Pay The Extra Quid&rsquo;)&nbsp;&nbsp;and all that, or for my US readers, PTED!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Soave winemakers are very proud of their soils, the two main types being limestone and volcanic basalt. If you mention volcanic rock to them their faces light up; they can talk for hours on the subject so be warned!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Top Johnny Superiore wines are governed by the D.O.C.G. laws which include 6 months minimum ageing, 12% minimum alcohol by volume and a maximum grape yield of 70 hectolitres per hectare (hl/ha). For my anorak readers, Soave Classico D.O.C. needs 4 months ageing, 11% alcohol and a maximum yield of 98 hl/ha. whilst Soave D.O.C. requires 2 months ageing, 10.5% alcohol with a maximum yield of 105 hl/ha. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> After tasting Soave for two days the yield specifications took on a new significance; &lsquo;imho&rsquo; here lies the soul of Soave&rsquo;s image problem. These yield allowances are high. As you can guess, the higher the grape yield from a single hectare, the less concentration in the grapes and therefore in the wine. Bet your bottom dollar, most of the light, neutral wines etched on the chefs&rsquo; memories would, in all probability, have been made from high yield grapes. These wines do this proud region of Soave no favours at all. Within the 2015 Tasting Preview Soave&rsquo;s potential was plain to see; it wasn&rsquo;t surprising that the best wines I tasted in all the D.O.C./D.O.C.G. categories were generally made from lower vineyard yields.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Pieropan&rsquo;s Soave Classico 2014, is made from hand picked, low yield Gargenaga (85%) and Trebbiano di Soave (15%) grown on volcanic soils at about 250 metres above sea level in the Classico region on pergola and guyot trained vines; it&rsquo;s fresh and lively with bright citrus aromas and flavours. Monte Tondo&rsquo;s lemon lime Soave Superiore Classico Marta DOCG 2012 (&pound;20, $30) was picked at 45 hl/ha. as opposed to the maximum allowed of 70 hl/ha. on their high altitude basalt volcanic soils. I rest my case.</div><br /> </p> Thu, 04 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6828 All About Wine, Vine by Vine Snooth Editorial <p>What are the secrets of a winemaker with over one hundred 90+ point wines across decades, appellations, and grapes? Perhaps it&rsquo;s like any top chef: Add a pinch of this, a dash of that, and voila &ndash; you&rsquo;ve got an award winning product. But decorated Murrieta&rsquo;s Well winemaker Robbie Meyer doesn&rsquo;t believe in recipes. Rather, he brings an intuitive connection with nature, keen attention to detail, and a certain je ne sais quoi to his work. The left brain and right brain perform a perfect dance in bottle. In the audience of some of the web&rsquo;s top writers, Snooth sat down with Robbie to talk about his latest works from acclaimed Livermore Valley estate, Murrieta&rsquo;s Well. Read on to learn more about Robbie&rsquo;s approach at Murrieta&rsquo;s Well. But please, don&rsquo;t limit yourself to our reporting. <a href=""><strong>You can view the full tasting here</strong></a>.&nbsp;<br /> Robbie&rsquo;s journey to Murrieta&rsquo;s Well (named for California goal rush miner Joaquin Murrieta, the first to discover the property) starts with California winemaking pioneer Louis Mel. In 1884, armed with cuttings from Chateau d&rsquo;Yquem and Chateau Margaux, Louis Mel began planting vines on the Livermore plot that is now Murrieta&rsquo;s Well. The vestiges of those first plantings still exist on the property today. In fact, Murrieta&rsquo;s Well is one of California&rsquo;s original wine estates. Louis Mel sold the property to Livermore Valley&rsquo;s own Wente family in 1933. The Murrieta&rsquo;s Well label has grown a strong fan base over the past several decades. Two years ago, the Wente family decided to recruit a true advocate for Murrieta&rsquo;s Well -- someone to help carve out the label&rsquo;s identity as a purveyor of high quality, small lot wines. Given his past successes in neighboring regions like Napa and Sonoma, they knew winemaker Robbie Meyer (nineteen vintages and counting) would be a perfect choice. Bringing refined skill and intuition to his practice, Robbie has intimately acquainted himself with each and every vineyard parcel at Murrieta&rsquo;s Well. Acre by acre, block by block, Robbie is acutely aware of the nuances of each plant. No microclimate, aspect, soil or root goes unnoticed. His output is completely vintage dependent; there is no case goal when it comes to winemaking at Murrieta&rsquo;s Well. You&rsquo;ll regularly find Robbie in the vineyards managing every vine based on its individual needs. Each vine is planted exactly where it demands, creating a patchwork of grapes across the grounds. Strategic harvesting is always part of the plan.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Four of Robbie&rsquo;s wines were tasted during the virtual event. &nbsp;Following are details about each wine and some anecdotes from Robbie. But better yet, <a href=""><strong>go to the tape</strong></a>!&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Murrieta&rsquo;s Well Small Lot Chardonnay Livermore Valley 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em><strong>This is a tasting room exclusive.</strong> Plan your visit now -- the historic tasting room just reopened after a period of renovation</em>. Robbie says: When it comes to white winemaking, you have just one chance to get perfect juice. The pressing must be gentle lest the wine be overly bitter and astringent. Perfect press is evidenced in this Small Lot Chardonnay. &nbsp;Indigenous yeast &nbsp;populations battled for supremacy during fermentation, with one just one rising to complete domination. As such, these small lot treats will have their own flair each year. The vines are own-rooted (not from rootstock), and Robbie employs many different oak influences from various cooperages so that no single influence will reign supreme. Try pairing with Halibut.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Murrieta&rsquo;s Well The Whip White Wine Blend Livermore Valley 2014&nbsp;</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>This is available in retailers nationwide at an incredible value.</strong> The Whip uses cultured yeasts rather than indigenous (as used in the Small Lot Chardonnay.) This is a strategic choice that allows each varietal in the blend to have a voice. Heady aromatics, as Robbie calls them, are achieved through Viognier, Muscat Canelli, and Muscat. Weight, texture, and depth are made possible by Semillon and Chardonnay. Sauvignon Blanc is the structural beam of acidity. Each varietal is cultivated to be its very best self. Blending begins only after fermentation is complete and each varietal has reached its full expression. The Whip is a survey of the five hundred acre Murrieta&rsquo;s Well property, highlighting what is possible from a full array of varietals. Try it with Thai food, spicy Asian dishes, or vegetables on the grill.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Murrieta&rsquo;s Well Small Lot Cabernet Livermore Valley 2013</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Another tasting room exclusive.</strong> Livermore Valley brings California swagger to Bordeaux varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon. Due to the east-west wine influences over the valley, Livermore is cooler than its neighbors. Meanwhile it still reaches optimal levels of heat and sun exposure. This results in beautiful whole red berries that do not over-express their fruit flavors. These grapes do not get painfully ripe. Robbie can open up the vine canopies a bit more in Livermore because the grapes are not as susceptible to burn. This is not true in nearby regions. The result is simply elegant Cabernet with distinct black olive and dark chocolate notes. Think beyond grilled steaks when you pair this Cabernet. It is delicate enough to pair with more tender meats, like lamb.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Murrieta&rsquo;s Well The Spur Red Wine Blend Livermore Valley 2013</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> While the varietal mix changes from year to year, Petite Sirah has been The Spur&rsquo;s signature. It&rsquo;s a grape with a great affinity for the Livermore Valley. Older plantings of the grape at Murrieta&rsquo;s Well give The Spur a luscious and vibrant expression of fruit flavors. Petite Sirah can be rough around the edges, so complementary grapes like Cabernet and Merlot give the blend some finesse. When it comes to blends, Robbie is not married percentages. It&rsquo;s all about style. This year, The Spur brings delightfully smooth chocolate expressions with a delicious spice. And as Robbie says, pairing is personal: Go with your gut! These elegantly ripened red varietals allow you to think outside of the grilled meat-only box.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Now, sit down with a glass and watch the full interview!&nbsp;</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Photo credit: </em><a href=""><strong>Murrieta&rsquo;s Well</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 02 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6826 Vineyard Most Wanted Nova McCune Cadamatre <p>There are a number of different pests and diseases that affect vineyards worldwide and each presents a different challenge depending on the climate and growing practices of that region. These viticultural criminals that affect grapevines come in several different forms including insects, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. To be considered a &ldquo;most wanted&rdquo; suspect they must have the potential to inflict severe economic impact on the industry in that particular region. The list below is by no means an exhaustive list however it does cover the top suspects. &nbsp;<br /> Phylloxera, a root louse, native to North America, is one of the major pests affecting vineyards world wide. &nbsp;If left unchecked it will feed on the roots to cause severe nutrient deficiencies which will affect the photosynthetic ability of the plant leading to stunted growth, and slowed ripening eventually killing the vine. &nbsp;Phylloxera currently affects Europe, North America, Most of South America, New Zealand and large parts of Australia. &nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There are few treatments available to kill the root louse once it has been introduced and the best protection is to use a resistant rootstock that can withstand the damage caused by the louse&rsquo;s feeding such as 3309 or SO4. &nbsp;Fumigants such as Methyl Bromide were once used after the affected vines had been pulled out but now it is not always allowed by law and should not be taken lightly as it is extremely devastating to all soil life. The proven way to protect a vineyard, long term, from Phylloxera once it is found is by using rootstocks that are resistant to the pest when the vineyard is replanted. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The European Grapevine Moth has been a common nuisance for European growers for centuries however for the new world it is a new threat that has just been discovered. The moth has three mating flights per season during which they will lay eggs in the clusters of grapevines. Symptoms of the infestation include webbing and orange headed larve present in the clusters. The third flight is typically the most damaging to vineyards as the larva will puncture the softening fruit to feed. This leaves the vine susceptible to secondary disease infections such as Botrytis which can cause color instability in the wine and Acetobacter which increases the level of volatile acidity in the fruit pre-fermentation.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The European grapevine moth can be treated with several different methods. &nbsp;Vineyards in Europe, use Pheromone capsules to disrupt the mating of the moths however both newly affected Chile and California have put in place aggressive plans to eradicate the moth completely. &nbsp;California&rsquo;s five year plan which began in 2010 included state-wide coordinated sprays with the pesticides Intrepid, Altecor, and Movento as well as Pheromone sprays. &nbsp;According to Greg Clark of the Napa Valley Register, no moths were caught in 2014 and 2015 making this &ldquo;one of the most successful eradication efforts of an agricultural pest in California history&rdquo;. &nbsp;This shows positive progress in the fight to eradicate the European Grapevine Moth from the New World.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Meanwhile Bordeaux is dealing with a crisis of its own in the Flavescence dor&eacute;e. &nbsp;Originally uncovered in the prestigious growing area of the Medoc, the Flavescence is a bacterial agent called <em>Candidatus Phytoplasma</em> vitis that has become problematic due to the importation of the <em>Scaphoideus titanus</em> leafhopper species from North America. The disease shows first symptoms through stunted growth, yellowing leaves, black pustules and inhibited lignification. The second season, the symptoms are more pronounced and can shrivel grape clusters after which the vine declines rapidly. &nbsp;If not rapidly eliminated, this disease could be as devastating to Bordeaux as Phylloxera was due to its ability to kill a vine within 3 years of infection. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The most effective method of controlling the Flavescence is through controlling the spread of the vector. &nbsp;Currently Pheromone capsules can be used to disrupt the mating of the Leafhopper and rapidly removing any vines that seem to be showing infection helps reduce source plants. &nbsp;For the <em>Vitis </em>grape species it is not curable once it is systemic in the vine and the best protection is to remove affected material quickly and prevent the importation of infected vines or the leafhopper from affected regions. The producers and growers of Bordeaux are working closely together to attack this issue immediately as this disease could be catastrophic. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Another problematic disease currently affecting Europe is Esca. &nbsp;This disease is the thought to be caused by a number of trunk diseases which causes stunted growth, discoloration of leaves and fruit, reduced yields, disrupted photosynthesis and in more severe cases total die off of the entire vine. &nbsp;It is best known for a Tiger strip necrosis pattern on the leaves of affected vines. &nbsp;Italy has had a particularly difficult time with the widespread infections. &nbsp;Esca is not always catastrophic and the range of severity varies from region to region. Growers can find it difficult to maintain profitable yields when dealing with the disease. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Once Esca has entered a vine it can not be cured so removal is the best treatment. &nbsp;In the Piedmont wineries are combatting it through the removal of infected vines to reduce the spread of the infection. Esca can be controlled through the protection of pruning wounds and through hot water treatment of nursery stock to prevent spreading. &nbsp;Esca can be very mild to deadly and it is important for vine growers to keep a vigilant eye for symptoms of the disease as early detection is critical.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There are several types of viruses that affect grapevines worldwide. &nbsp;Leaf roll and Fan Leaf are the two most ubiquitous viruses and affect vineyards in Europe and across the new world. &nbsp;Both cause deformation of the leaves of the vine and severely reduced yields although the viruses themselves rarely lead to vine death. &nbsp;Leaf roll virus can be vectored by the grapevine mealybug or certain scale species and Fan Leaf virus is vectored by the dagger nematode, Xiphinema index. &nbsp;Both viruses can be spread more widely by infected nursery stock. &nbsp;Dr. Peter Cousins of the USDA works to breed nematode resistant rootstocks that will protect the vines from the spread of viruses as an infection can cause a major decrease in yields and profitability for farmers. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The control of these diseases is closely linked with control of the vectors. &nbsp;For Leaf roll viruses, controlling the population of grapevine mealybugs is very important. &nbsp;Some vineyards in Napa Valley have taken to using dogs to sniff out the insects during the dormant period and treating affected vineyards with insecticides such as Movento or Applaud. &nbsp;For Fan Leaf virus, it is important to make sure during the planting preparation that the manager has chosen a rootstock that is resistant to the dagger nematode species found in the individual country because resistance varies from rootstock to rootstock depending on the country. &nbsp;For South African X. index, the rootstocks Freedom and Harmony were found to have the best resistance to the nematode. &nbsp;For vines already infected with a virus, quick removal is the best option to minimize the spread.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> More widespread perennial issues include fungal diseases such as Botrytis, Powdery Mildew, and Odium (Downy Mildew) which affect growers in most major vine growing regions. &nbsp;These diseases can cause problems with fruit set, photosynthesis as well as fruit ripeness. &nbsp;They can be mitigated by increasing airflow through the canopy, proper disposal of pruning material and reducing standing water as well as sprays of sulfur or fungicides such as Pristine or Kali-green. &nbsp;Fungal diseases are particularly difficult in humid environments but they affect growers of almost every region. &nbsp;The severity of the infection depends highly on the local climate.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Animals can also pose a threat to vineyards and should be monitored closely for damage that can impact the vineyard in negative ways. &nbsp;Animals typically cause harm by eating the fruit. Problems can arise when they eat so much that yields begin to be significantly impacted or they cause widespread damage to the clusters which allow Botrytis or Acetobacter to move in. &nbsp;Birds can be particularly damaging by pecking at the skin of the grapes. &nbsp;Vineyards on the Central coast of California sometimes bring in full time Falconers to discourage birds through natural predators. &nbsp;Animals must be managed so that the fruit can reach the winery safe and sound.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There are a variety of pests and diseases that affect vineyards worldwide including those outlined above and each comes with its own challenges for the vineyard manager. As viticulture is an agricultural based occupation, growers are at the mercy of nature and their environment however by remaining vigilant and reacting quickly to problems they will have a better chance of preserving the health of their vineyard. &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><br /> </p> Fri, 29 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6825 Wine Myths: Debunked Snooth Editorial <p>Wine myths are often unspoken but incredibly pervasive. Their looming presence may prevent wine novices from feeling confident about how they drink. Most would agree that wine experiences are best enjoyed with friends, but myths can hinder otherwise joyous wine drinking occasions. <em>&ldquo;Sparkling wine MUST be enjoyed in a flute glass, or else!&rdquo; &ldquo;Wines sealed with a screw cap are ALWAYS unenjoyable.</em>&rdquo;&nbsp;Many wine myths have circulated for decades. Legions of potential wine lovers can be turned off by a single falsehood. Quashing wine myths is an ideal way to make wine more inclusionary and accessible to all who wish to participate. Our esteemed cadre of wine writers has exposed the truth about some commonly believed wine myths. Spread the word!&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> <strong>Soave is crappy.&nbsp;</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> In the 1970s, Americans consumed more Soave than Chianti. This Italian wine hails from the Veneto region of Northern Italy, and, for decades, the name carried with it connotations of insipidness and wateriness. Now, it is true: there are many lame Soave &nbsp;wines. But there are plenty of good ones too, damn good. The crummy stuff tends to be labeled simply Soave, and the grapes are sourced from productive vineyards in the region&#39;s fertile plain. But the good stuff comes from Soave Classico appellation, the historic heart of the region, and is labeled as such. Here, where the Romans planted vines some 2,000 years ago, you can find some of the only volcanic basalt soils in Northern Italy. These soils are heaven for the Garganega grape, which produces wines with abundant minerality, bright floral tones and crisp acidity. There are steely and mineral-laden versions and there are rounder, oak-aged versions &mdash; plenty of styles and wines to explore. And, perhaps because of the larger appellation&#39;s reputation, you can buy really good Soave Classico for about $20. Producers like <a href=""><strong>Inama</strong></a>, Pieropan and Monte Tondo are a good place to start.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Isaac James Baker, </em>&nbsp;<a href="">Reading, Writing &amp; Wine</a></div><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>I don&rsquo;t like this wine.</strong><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> My favorite myth is one that bothers me to this day. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t like (insert type of wine here).&rdquo; &nbsp;In daily form, I hear it something like this:&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t like ros&eacute;.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t like champagne.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t like pinot grigio.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I bet you, too, have heard this more than once. It&rsquo;s important to realize that one or more bad experiences does not always mean that we don&rsquo;t like that specific grape. More often than not, It&#39;s a myth! It&rsquo;s that we went to a party and were served &ldquo;either red or white&rdquo; from very large, very cheap bottles, and to no one&#39;s surprise, found the wines lacking in quality and style. Sad but true, that really mediocre wines serve to lower the quality of our experience and personal value to that type of wine. &nbsp;I sometimes have guests who apologize in an attempt to refuse a wine I&rsquo;m serving. I will gently say, &ldquo;Just have a taste and if you don&rsquo;t love it, I&rsquo;ll pour you something else.&rdquo; That encouragement is enough to get them to put the glass to their lips and experience a wine that can put that former (negative) experience firmly in the past, and is usually followed with &ldquo;Oh, I&rsquo;d like to have more of this, thank you!&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Jim van Bergen,</em> <a href="">JvBUnCorked</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Those little diamonds mean your wine is contaminated.</strong><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I remember first reading about wine diamonds in a technical book about winemaking. Diamonds in my wine? Is that a problem? As I quickly discovered, wine diamonds are a euphemism for tartrates that are formed when potassium (or less likely calcium) and tartaric acid bind together to form crystals. Both are naturally occurring products of wine grapes and potassium bitartrate is commonly known as cream of tartar. Wine diamonds are more likely to form in white wine than red because of the difference in winemaking techniques used to produce them. The problem with wine diamonds is that when wine drinkers find them at the bottom of their wine glass, or on a cork, they think their wine is contaminated. This is a wine myth that needs to be debunked. Wine diamonds are not a contaminant in your wine, they&rsquo;re perfectly natural. They are little gems that may simply indicate the wine was overchilled and very likely that a hands-off approach was used in making the wine. That&rsquo;s not so bad. There are a number of techniques winemakers use to assure tartrates do not form after a wine is bottled. Cold stabilization, storing wine at very cold temperatures so that the tartrates form before bottling, is the traditional method. Modern techniques include filtration and the addition of compounds that inhibit crystal formation. All methods have benefits and disadvantages the winemaker must consider. And, even after considerable effort to prevent their formation, the crystals may still form after a wine is bottled. So, remember, wine diamonds are not a contaminant in your wine. When I discover wine diamonds in my glass or on a cork, I celebrate the find! Then I take pictures and post them on social media. Cheers!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Nancy Brazil, </em><a href="">Pull That Cork&nbsp;</a></div><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>That wine needs to be stored at the right temperature.</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> I have to say that there are a host of Wine Myths out there that need to be debunked, but the one that I spend the most time debunking is the need to keep your wines at a constant 55˚F. Now, as a preface, I am not talking about wine that you are storing as an investment (which as Joe Roberts points out, is usually a terrible idea), nor am I talking about wine that you intend for long-term storage (think first-growth Bordeaux from a great vintage). No, I am talking about the wines that you intend for short to medium-term drinking in the next 5 or even ten years. You do not need to spend several thousand dollars to keep these wines in a constant state of chill. What you need is a cool dark space that is not susceptible to sudden temperature swings. In other words, you do not want it to be 65˚ one day and 85˚ the next. Ideally, the space should also not get above 80˚ either. I have kept my collection of around 1500 bottles in a basement with no additional refrigeration for we&#39;ll over a decade and I have had no issues. I live in Philadelphia where summer temps can reach well into the 90˚s but the basement rarely gets above 75˚. So instead of spending that extra cash on a fancy fridge, buy a case or two of Krug and invite me over to share a bottle.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Jeff Kralik, </em><a href="">The Drunken Cyclist</a></div><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> <strong>More expensive wine is better.</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There are no shortage of myths in the wine world that should be buried. One of the most frustrating that I hear often from consumers at tastings that I host is the misconception that wine quality is always directly determined by price. The higher the price the better the wine goes the myth. There are of course many great wines that are expensive but studies and blind tastings consistently disprove the expensive equals better myth.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I look to regions like the Loire Valley (especially Muscadet) and Languedoc in France, Chile, Spain, and South Africa for interesting wines that deliver serious quality and value. One of my favorite value wines that consistently delivers quality above it&rsquo;s $10 price tag is the Cabernet Sauvignon from Los Vascos winery, located in the Colchagua Valley region of Chile.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Ruby color in the glass, this Cab offers notes of raspberries, licorice and thyme around a plum core with pepper on the edges. Firm tannins and well-balanced, this wine pairs perfectly with a ribeye steak on the grill.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Frank Morgan,</em> <a href="">Drink What You Like</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>The more expensive the wine, the better the wine.</strong><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Sometimes this is true. But having just visited three regions in California, I can tell you that I had some wines in Paso Robles that would give Napa and Sonoma wines a run for the money &ndash; at a fraction of the price. There are so many factors that influence wine pricing that have nothing to do with the wine itself. Wine regions, shelf position, brand and celebrity affiliation can all drive pricing through the roof. The lesser-known regions, grapes, producers and places &ndash; often hard to pronounce &ndash; can be the undiscovered diamonds in the rough.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Melanie Ofenloch</em>, <a href="">Dallas Wine Chick</a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Sweet wine can&rsquo;t be good.</strong><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Mention you like sweet wines and many will look at you with raised eyebrows, waiting for the punchline. Sweet wines are for amateurs, right? On the contrary, some of the best wines in the world are sweet: Hungary&#39;s Tokaji, &nbsp;Austria and Germany&#39;s Trockenbeerenauslese, France&#39;s Sauternes; the list goes on. These wines are generally very sweet but balanced, show a broad range of flavors, and are amongst the world&#39;s most cellar-worthy wines. Sweet wines aren&#39;t all about dessert, though -- search out light-to-mid sweet wines and pair them with salty or spicy foods for a more nuanced experience.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Kovas Palubinskas, </em><a href="">50 States Of Wine</a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Old World wines are superior to New World wines.</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Conventional wine wisdom goes like this. Wines from the Old World (think primarily France, Spain and Italy) are superior to New World (think primarily the United States, Australia, and South America) wines. While it&rsquo;s true that Old World countries have had a couple of thousand years head start on planting the right grapes in the right place, and mastering &nbsp;growing &nbsp;and wine making techniques, the New World has caught on relatively quickly. Tremendous strides have been made in quality, diversity and ultimately, sales of New World wines. The most celebrated example of the New World betting the Old World at their own game, of course, is the 1976 Judgment of Paris when California Chardonnay and Cabernet Blends beat the best wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux in a blind tasting with French judges. &nbsp;And in more recent times, there are numerous examples of that same scenario repeating itself across various Old World vs. New World countries.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Old World versus New World is a false dichotomy because there is a wealth of examples of New World wines made in the Old World style (less overt fruit, lower alcohol, and higher acidity), and wines originating in Old World countries made in the New World style (riper, more overt fruit flavors, higher alcohol and less acidity) A wine should be judged on its own merits without bias based on place of origin. Let your palate be your guide!&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Martin Redmond, </em><a href="">ENOFYLZ Wine Blog</a></div><br /> </div><br /> </div><br /> <div><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Merlot makes insipid red wines.&nbsp;</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Long before Sideways took a swipe at Merlot and launched Pinot Noir further into the wine stratosphere there were issues. A lot of wineries were making Merlot in a style that didn&rsquo;t inspire enthusiasm. In fact such a large percentage of Merlot, particularly from the New World, was at best generic and at worst undrinkable. However there have always been excellent examples of Merlot produced in CA and other New World areas. Over the last few years there are more producers in CA (for example) than at any time in recent memory focusing on their Merlot program with renewed vigor. When it&rsquo;s planted in the right spot and treated appropriate thereafter Merlot can and should be structured, age worthy and loaded with appealing character. Most importantly it should unabashedly be Merlot. To me that&lsquo;s a wine that brings to mind and iron fist in a velvet glove. One brand new release from a large, well known California producer is worth seeking out if you want a terrific Napa Merlot. <strong>Franciscan Estate 2013 Napa Valley Reserve Merlot ($45)</strong>:&nbsp;The Reserve Merlot is a brand new release in the Franciscan Portfolio. In addition to Merlot (93%), small amounts of Syrah (6%), and Cabernet Sauvignon (1%) were blended in. All of the fruit came from Oak Knoll. It&rsquo;s made from a cuvee of select barrels. Red cherry, leather and black pepper are all evident on the nose. When you take the first sip your senses are knocked out by all the continuing red cherry fruit tinged by bits of black cherry. Cinnamon and clove spices are in play as well. The velvety finish shows off dusty dark cocoa, pencil lead and sweet dry cherry flavors. This is an absolutely outstanding Merlot with tremendous structure. &nbsp;It&rsquo;s wonderful now but I&rsquo;d hold it for 3-4 years and drink it in the 5 after that. Either way this is a very serious stab at top shelf Merlot at a very reasonable price.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Gabe Sasso,</em> <a href="">Gabe&rsquo;s View</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Napa Valley stereotypes are true.</strong><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Ever since I moved to the Napa Valley two and a half years ago, I pay more attention to media references about where I live and the wines we produce. Narratives about the Napa Valley frequently resort to generalizations and stereotypes, often with negative overtones. The media perpetuates the narrow-minded focus that the Napa Valley is comprised of gigantic corporate producers, shiny and ornate tasting rooms, and cabernet sauvignon. The Napa Valley is more than corporations and cabernet. In fact, 78% of the Napa Valley&rsquo;s producers make fewer than 10,000 cases and 67% produce fewer than 5000 cases. Ninety-five percent of our wineries are family owned and operated. Our microclimates and differing soil types allow for many grape varieties to flourish. Only 40% of our grape production is cabernet sauvignon, while the other 60% includes grape varieties such as cabernet franc, chardonnay, merlot, petite sirah, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, syrah, zinfandel, and many more. The styles and prices of our wines vary as greatly as the wines produced. One day, one may enjoy traditional method sparkling wines like blanc de blancs, blanc de noirs, and brut ros&eacute; at one of our sparkling producers like Domaine Carneros, Domaine Chandon, Mumm, or Schramsberg. The next day, one travels high atop Spring Mountain to a side-by-side tasting of chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and riesling (yes, riesling!) in the rustic production building at Smith-Madrone. Ehlers Estate produces Bordeaux-style wines from their organic, estate vineyards, including their atypical 100% petit verdot. Madrigal Family Winery, paying homage to Chris Madrigal&rsquo;s Spanish ancestry, offers estate garnacha and tempranillo. Benessere crafts Italian varietal wines such as aglianico, moscato di canelli, pinot grigio, sagrantino, and sangiovese. Coquerel Wines makes verdelho, tempranillo, and late-harvest sauvignon blanc. I haven&rsquo;t scratched the surface of the depth and breadth of the Napa Valley&rsquo;s wine options, as there are approximately 475 physical wineries, not including custom-crush producers. The next time you are considering wines from the Napa Valley, please enjoy our cabernet sauvignon, but explore beyond it. While here, venture away from the beaten path and you&rsquo;ll discover the real Napa Valley and its diverse wines. (Statistics provided by Napa Valley Vintners and the Napa Valley Register)</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Elizabeth Smith,</em> <a href="">Traveling Wine Chick</a></div><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Drink only red wine with red meat and white wine with fish.</strong><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Myths gain traction for a reason. While savoring a well marbled steak and gorgeous Cabernet Sauvignon, tannins in the wine weave themselves with fatty char from the meat to create a tapestry of deliciousness in your mouth. Similarly, enjoying a Rueda wine with fish creates magic. However, as myths go, this needs to be busted. &nbsp;At an event with the team from Wagner Family Wines team, they described a swoon worthy pairing of grilled sea bass with one of their delicious reds. &nbsp;Heresy? &nbsp;No. Sea Bass is often described as a &ldquo;meaty&rdquo; fish and grilling is a cooking method that adds body to a dish. This was a great example of matching overall body of food to wine. Matching overall body ends up being more important than matching color. Wine pairing is like a Rubik&rsquo;s Cube puzzle to line up sweetness, acidity, alcohol, oak and tannins to complement food elements. If all the sides are balanced and you can also get flavors to match (or contrast) with equal persistency between wine and food flavors, you won&rsquo;t need to lean on myths to create your own legendary food and wine pairings. So think about texture and flavors more than whether the color of the meat matches the color of the wine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Liza Swift, </em><a href="">Brix Chicks</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>The wine world is getting less diverse.</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Many wine myths out there are not true. But the one that I would like to tackle is a little bit more unorthodox - the myth that there is less diversity in the wine world than say fifty years ago. Many wine lovers are concerned that very popular grape varieties such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are dominating the world to the detriment of extinction of local varieties. This is only partly true. Yes, many regions around the world are devoting more and more vineyards to grape varieties that are not native to the region, but that does not mean that we have completely lost diversity. How do I know we do not have an extreme lack of diversity of grape varieties? The book, Native Wine Grapes of Italy, by Ian D&rsquo;Agata, opened my eyes to the fact that the problem is not the lack of grape varieties but the lack of knowledge that they exist. I cannot do the book justice in this one short post, but let me just say that at the time his book was written, there were 461 official Italian grape varieties registered and D&rsquo;Agata has said there could easily be around 1000 currently existing in Italy. How did this happen? The book goes into great detail, but the basics are due to misidentification and growers being not completely sure what they are growing. This created a myth that there is a lot less diversity than actually present. A great example is a grape variety called Malvasia. There are actually 17 different cultivars within the group of Malvasia: one called Malvasia Bianca Lunga, another Malvasia del Lazio (you guessed it, it can be found in Lazio), another named Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, and so on and so on. Some of them are very different from each other. Most wine drinkers who are familiar with Malvasia will know it as a restrained white wine not showing any intense aromas or flavors. Not true with Malvasia di Candia Aromatica - it is, as you can also guess, very aromatic. Recently I tasted the 2015 Castello di Luzzano &lsquo;Tasto di Seta&rsquo; 100% Malvasia di Candia Aromatica and it was delicious with an explosion of floral notes - like no other Malvasia wine I have had before this one. It is important that this myth is debunked so we don&rsquo;t unknowingly lose the great diversity of grape varieties that currently exist, yet may not survive if we do not know about them and seek them out.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Cathrine Todd, </em><a href="">Dame Wine</a></div><br /> <div><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Real men don&rsquo;t drink pink wine.</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I&rsquo;ll talk about a few wine myths associated with ros&eacute;, since the heat is on and ros&eacute; has totally become synonymous with summer. The good news is there is far less stigma surrounding these pink-hued wines than there was just five years ago. Unfortunately, ros&eacute; is still now and again viewed as a cheap, sweet, lackluster wine. Besides a lack of wine education, this possibly has a lot to do with White Zinfandel. I&rsquo;m not knocking White Zin since it is usually many people&#39;s introduction to the wonderful world of wine and the reason there are many old vine Zinfandel vineyards in California. While sweet, cheap, and lackluster may hold true for some pink juice, there are a countless number of attractively refreshing, drier examples that not only taste good but are versatile and offer endless food pairing possibilities &ndash; particularly with light summer fare. Another myth you will hear is, &ldquo;Real men don&rsquo;t drink pink wine.&rdquo; Are you serious? Let truth be told, I think bros sip way more pink juice than the ladies. Someone must be looking at old data. Lastly, you may hear that wines like ros&eacute; are nothing more than warm weather porch-pounders. This is nonsense. While the pink juice does shine and satisfy during the summer months, I keep them in my wine rotation year-round. In addition to the traditional Pinot Noir and Riesling, I can tell you from experience that ros&eacute; will perform admirably on your Thanksgiving table. Now, I do realize that some of you have tried to think pink &amp; drink pink but it wasn&rsquo;t for you. And that&rsquo;s okay; at least you tried, right? However, if you have made your mind up after only trying one or two examples, then I ask you to &ldquo;rethink pink&rdquo; and give pink wine a second chance. Find a wonderfully crisp, drier style ros&eacute; and give it an opportunity to win you over this summer. And please let us know what you find and like. Cheers!&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Dezel Quillen,</em>&nbsp;<a href="">My Vine Spot</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Old World and New World styles are totally different.</strong></div><br /> </div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There are many wine myths out there. Most come from misconceptions and misinformation. One myth I am particularly drawn to is the idea of &ldquo;old world wine&rdquo; and &ldquo;new world wine.&rdquo; The separation of these &ldquo;worlds&rdquo; is simple: old world represents countries and regions before 1492; new world is all who came after 1492. Seems clear enough; however, the wine myth is these two &ldquo;worlds&rdquo; craft wines in different styles. This may have once been true, but in the 21st century this myth is now bunk. In the US, South America, South Africa, and more many wines are produced with the philosophy of balance and &ldquo;less is more&rdquo; in winemaking styles. Some would easily pass as Burgundy, Bordeaux, and even Alsace. Conversely, I have experienced wines from France, Italy, and Spain that fooled a group of 100 plus sommeliers into thinking they were &ldquo;new world&rdquo; wines. Are there style differences? Yes, but these styles have more to do with wine making philosophy than with geographical location. Balanced wines are good wines regardless of what &ldquo;world&rdquo; produced them.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Michelle Williams,</em> <a href="">Rockin Red Blog</a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 19 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6823