Snooth - Articles http://www.snooth.com/articles/?of=rss Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Sat, 19 Jan 2019 08:00:42 -0500 Sat, 19 Jan 2019 08:00:42 -0500 http://www.rssboard.org/rss-specification Snooth webmaster@snooth.com How to Choose the Right Cabernet http://www.snooth.com/articles/how-to-choose-the-right-cabernet/?viewall=1 Mark Angelillo <p>Cabernet Sauvignon is a shape-shifter. This is true for nearly every grape, but most especially Cab. Perhaps because it is grown in so many places, we are aware of the many different shapes it can take. Climate, terroir, vintage year, winemaking and more make a huge difference. But what IS it about Cabernet Sauvignon? The Gironde native has captured our imagination for centuries. It is a fan favorite across the globe.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Maybe it&rsquo;s the color. Cab juice is almost always a distinctive red-purple hue, thanks to the grape&rsquo;s polyphenol-rich skins. And nobody can deny the grape&rsquo;s natural balance &ndash; most Cabernet Sauvignon delivers a double-power-punch of rich red fruit and singeing acidity. Its capacity for complexity and development is clear.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Cab is grown in a lot of places, but we tend to stick with the old reliable favorites. The fruit fanfares of Napa and the restrained waltzes of Bordeaux are not featured here. The selections I&rsquo;ve decided to highlight aren&rsquo;t unheard of, but deserve some extra attention.<br /> Cab&rsquo;s strong varietal character stands out no matter where it&rsquo;s grown. While we can make generalizations about how a grape expresses itself in a region, so much comes down to the bottle you drink. What&rsquo;s more painful to comprehend is that every individual bottle is different. It&rsquo;s so hard to generalize wine, but we do our best.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> That said, you can count on Cab to bring notes of black cherry and currant. Violet flowers are known to emerge. Sometimes olive. The supporting nuances &ndash; chocolate, cedar box, pencil shavings &ndash; can vary. The oak program is also a matter of importance: Where is the oak from? How old is the oak?&nbsp; Was the oak toasted? How long was the wine sitting in the oak? The variations are endless.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> With this in mind, get tasting.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Sassicaia</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Sassicaia is made by a single estate &ndash; Tenuta San Guido. The winery received its own DOC (Bolgheri-Sassicaia) for the wine, which must contain eighty percent Cab. The rest is Cab Franc. Sassicaia is loosely defined as &ldquo;stony&rdquo; because of the stones in the Cab vineyards. The goal was to create the next great left bank Bordeaux blend with grapes grown in Tuscany. Clearly, it was a success. Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 2015 received 97 points from Wine Spectator and was named 2018 wine of the year. This is an investment wine not necessarily intended for every day drinking.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> However, you can find reasonably priced Tenuta San Guido wines made with grapes from the young vines that will one day produce the prized Sassicaia &ndash; after they grow up of course.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Seek: <a href="http://www.tenutasanguido.com/eng/LeDifese.html"><strong>Tenuta San Guido La Difense 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> There are still some of these swirling around retail shops, priced from $30 to $50.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Guadalupe Valley, Mexico</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This region is an up-and-comer on the Baja, California wine trail. There are over one hundred wineries here, and I suspect more will come. The wines can be hard to find, and expensive (due to high taxation rates). If those barriers are removed, I think we&rsquo;d see a lot more talk about these wines. In the meantime, plan a visit.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Seek: <a href="http://lomita.mx/home/"><strong>Lomita Tinto de la Hacienda Cabernet 2015.</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Drink during your stay.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Horse Heaven Hills, Washington</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> There&rsquo;s a lot of wine being made in Horse Heaven Hills, and cooler-climate Cab has so much to offer. The vineyards on the bluffs above the Columbia River are stunning, and the region&rsquo;s location insulates it from the worst weather extremes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Seek: <a href="http://store.westportwinery.com/CharterboatChick"><strong>Westport Winery Garden Resort Charterboat Chick Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Drink during your stay at the resort.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Coonawarra, Australia</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> When you hear Australian Cab, it&rsquo;s probably from Coonawarra. Six out of ten vines in the region are Cab.&nbsp; Here, Cab manifests some truly unique flavors. Menthol, eucalyptus, and mint are often found hiding under subtler fruits. You can find these at fantastic values across the United States.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Seek: <a href="https://www.penley.com.au/"><strong>Penley Estate Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> </p> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0500 article7111 Detox Wines for January Drinking http://www.snooth.com/articles/detox-wines-for-january-drinking/?viewall=1 Mark Angelillo <p>The holidays are over, but the wine celebrations never end &ndash; in our corner of the internet at least. January calls for easy-breezy wines that pair well with holiday detox fare. I drank a lot of deep, sticky tannins in December. They paired well with the rich, unctuous dishes going around the table. But it&rsquo;s time to set those wines aside and focus on something light-footed and bright.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I&rsquo;ve always detected a distinct chamomile note in these wines. Fresh squeezed lemons aren&rsquo;t far behind. Unsalted almonds, flash-roasted in a dry cast iron pan, complete the experience.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Garganega is the grape, a native of the Veneto. Soave is the region, also in the Veneto. But it&rsquo;s a bit more complicated than that&hellip;<br /> Soave DOC, established in 1968, is the largest DOC appellation in Italy. Look for bottles labeled Classico to zero in on quality. Like Chianti Classico, Soave Classico is the region&rsquo;s original historic production zone. It&rsquo;s a hilly area, and the rich volcanic soil imparts generous mineral notes to the wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Next, find a bottle labeled Soave Superiore DOCG. The label was established in 2001 to showcase grapes grown in hilly, less fertile areas at lower yields. Most Superiore wines are produced in the Classico region. Some producers add the word Classico to the label, too. But for most, Classico is implied. Garganega must comprise 70% of DOCG wines. Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay and Trebbiano fill in the rest.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The wines are fairly inexpensive, but I&rsquo;ve seen a wide range of prices across retailers. I&rsquo;m talking a five to eight-dollar difference. As always, do a price check. Here are four favorites from a recent tasting, most of which should be easy to find.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Inama Vigneti di Foscarino Soave Classico 2016</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Lovely floral notes of dried chamomile and sunflower with soft lemon and papaya. Lovely palate of spice and bold acidity, zesty lemon and grapefruit flavors with a beeswax core and a hint of eucalyptus, crisp golden raisins and fresh pear, with a nutty finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Tenute di Corte Giacobbe Vigneto Runcata Soave Superiore 2016</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Herbed and leafy aromas of basil and lime leaf with fruit notes of grapefruit, lemon and dark rye toast. Crisp acidity and bold fruit flavors on the palate with notes of golden berries and tart lime and kiwi, fresh melon and green apple towards the creamy almond finish.<br /><br /> 91 pts<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Monte Carbonare Soave Classico 2016</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Light lemon-tangerine aromas with crisp melon notes and floral spice. Nicely spiced and quite zesty on the palate with bright acidity, melon and lemon fruit notes and a dry, dusty and oaky finish with strong notes of tart citrus and waxy, floral notes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>i Stefanini Monte di Fice Soave Superiore Classico 2017</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Tart and fresh tropical fruit aromas of mango and melon with some golden berries and lemon and a touch of dried earth. Zesty minerality and tart citrus notes of lemon and grapefruit with persimmon and light pumpkin notes. This is a bit floral and quite fresh, bursting with acidity on the mid palate before yielding to a crisp, light almond finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/list/top-soave-2019"><strong>My full list of top picks is located here.</strong></a></p> Wed, 09 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0500 article7110 Five Fab Sparklers, One Location. http://www.snooth.com/articles/franciacorta/?viewall=1 Mark Angelillo <p>The rush for sparkling wine is here, and there&rsquo;s still enough time for you to grab one of my all-time faves. Franciacorta is Italy&rsquo;s answer to Champagne, some might say. While I believe the comparison successfully establishes Franciacorta as a premium quality wine, I fear it gives the former short shrift. These bottles stand strong on their own.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> There are around fifty growers and producers in Franciacorta today producing about 12 million bottles from roughly 5,400 acres of vineyard land &ndash; that&rsquo;s a relatively small area compared to say, Champagne (which produces approximately 350 million bottles each year). Franciacorta is producing small batch sparklers created under strict guidelines. The DOCG label was established in 1995. Requirements include: minimum refinement of 18 months in the bottle and a total of 25 months of aging before release; vintage dated wines (millesimato) must spend 30 months in the bottle and cannot be sold until 37 months from the vintage. Just three varietals are permitted: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Bianco. Every bottle of Franciacorta DOCG is a high-touch labor or love.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There are a few key Franciacorta producers who see a lot of play in the United States. I&rsquo;d like to see us widen the playing field a bit and get some new picks on the shelves. Here are five that your local retailer may have hiding in their private stash. If they don&rsquo;t have it, request a special order. And if you don&rsquo;t make it in time for New Year&rsquo;s Eve, Valentine&rsquo;s Day is right around the corner.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> <strong>Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Saten Brut NV</strong><br /> <div><br /> <br /><br /> This is a 100 percent Chardonnay wine, as most Sat&egrave;n tend to be. Franciacorta&rsquo;s Sat&egrave;n sparkler are also defined by the level of pressure in the bottle &ndash; in this case, it&rsquo;s lower. Sat&egrave;n wines promise richer, fuller,&nbsp; and creamier bubbles. This one delivers. Plush floral aromas of wildflower, baked pear and apple with mild yeast. Zesty and brightly fruited with searing acidity, tart and lemon driven fruit notes, touches of melon and cream, fresh orange and lime pith with a toasted finish that&rsquo;s light and crisp.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Mirabella Brut Ros&eacute; Franciacorta NV</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Chardonnay (45%), Pinot Nero (45%) and Pinot Bianco (10%). Plush strawberry and cherry aromas are lightly floral and touched by flaky puff pastry and delicate floral honey. Fresh spice and a creamy texture on the palate with gorgeous fruit flavors of cherry, strawberry and tart cranberry towards the finish, this displays great depth and full body with length and style. 93 pts.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Majolini Brut Franciacorta 2014</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Chardonnay (90%) with a dash of Pinot Noir (10%). Tart Meyer lemon and light toast, pastry dough and grapefruit on the nose. Creamy palate of fresh lemon cream and grapefruit zest, a bit of green apple, pear skins and warm spice, finishing with melon and butter notes.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Villa Emozione Brut Franciacorta 2013</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This is a blend of 26 base wines from a single estate &ndash; Chardonnay (85%), Pinot Noir (10%), and Pinot Blanc (5%). Dark toast and biscuit aromas with an oaty, buttered note with crisp fruit notes of lemon and grapefruit. Lively and tart on the palate with searing acidity, fresh citrus flavors of grapefruit and tangerine, melon rind and more smoky toasted notes of wheat and barley, finishing with more tart acidity and puckering citrus pith.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Monzio Compagnoni Brut Franciacorta 2010</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The 2010 growing year was cold and rainy, but harvest conditions reached perfection It&rsquo;s still showing, eight years later. Smoky citrus aromas, ever so slightly honeyed on the nose with a pleasant floral note and some green apple, peach and lemon underneath the toast. Smooth and creamy palate with pleasant citrus fruit notes of orange and grapefruit, tart acidity and dark toast, finishing bready with biscuit notes and fresh peach fruit.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> </p> Sun, 30 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0500 article7106 It’s Generation Prosecco. http://www.snooth.com/articles/prosecco/?viewall=1 Mark Angelillo <p><div><br /> I can hear the bottles popping already &ndash; it&rsquo;s New Year&rsquo;s Eve. There are roughly four million bottles of Prosecco circulating around the United States in a given year. This gives us some indication about what people will be drinking tonight. But if you&rsquo;re reading this missive right now, there&rsquo;s a good chance that you think about Prosecco in a deeper way. That brings me to Conegliano Valdobbiadene.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Some audacious producers throw the word Prosecco on any old label, just to capitalize on the sparkler&rsquo;s semi-recent popularity. How do we know what&rsquo;s worth our time?<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> It&rsquo;s Conegliano Valdobbiadene. A mouthful, to be sure. But these two words are the ones you want to see on your bottles of Prosecco. These two words ensure the kind of quality you&rsquo;ll want for ringing in a new year.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Conegliano and Valdobbiadene are two separate towns, so you may see one or the other on a Prosecco bottle. Both towns, located just north of Venice, have been producing quality Prosecco for multiple generations. You will find bottles labeled for specific rive (hillsides) and crus, too.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Get yourself over to your local shop, bask in the final rush, and pick up one of these true Prosecco bottles.</div><br /> <br /> <div><br /> <strong>About Prosecco Superiore DOCG</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> <br /><br /> I&rsquo;ve waxed poetic about these wines for the past several years, and I won&rsquo;t be stopping any time soon. Conegliano and Valdobbiadene fall under Prosecco Superiore DOCG. The designation gives proper respect to the premier growing region for Prosecco located between the two towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. It encompasses fifteen municipalities.&nbsp; All other Prosecco in the wider region of 556 municipalities would be labeled as Prosecco DOC, as it has been since the 1960s.</div><br /> <div><br /> In addition, the grape formerly known as Prosecco has been given a new name, Glera. Any wine labeled Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG needs to be at least 85% Glera. There are three different sweetness levels: Brut wines have the least residual sugars, followed by Extra Dry and Dry. Extra Dry is the most prevalent category, which explains why many Prosecco wines carry a hint of sweetness to them.&nbsp;</div><br /> The changes were approved in 2009 and took effect in 2010. I&rsquo;ve enjoyed watching more and more wine lovers come to understand and embrace these quality Prosecco wines..<br /> <div><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>On Cartizze</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> <br /><br /> If you&rsquo;re lucky, you&rsquo;ll see the word Cartizze on a Prosecco bottle. This field is 107 hectares, split between many growers &ndash; right down to the row. This specific field is known to produce the most high-quality Prosecco. The wines are of course rarer and more difficult to find, many of them consumed by the local market. Most of the wines are made in the dry style due to local preference. They are indeed the most prized wines of Prosecco.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Le Colture Superiore de Cartizze Valdobbiadene NV</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Lightly floral, brisk aromas of lemon and apple. Freshly fruited and light palate of peach, green apple and pear, with a creamy textured palate that is clean and a bit tart. Finishes quite clean with a hint of buttery biscuit and grapefruit. Lovely.</div><br /> <div><br /> 92 pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Canavel Superiore di Cartizze Valdobbiadene 2017</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Fresh orange and tangerine juice with lemon pith and notes of peach. Full and ripe fruit in the mouth with zesty spice and creamy lemon and candied grapefruit notes, delicate bubbles and citrus zest on the mid palate, finishing with a short finish of peach and lime juice.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Marsuret Superiore di Cartizze Dry Valdobbiadene NV</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A bit tropical with stone fruits and delicate floral beeswax and honey aromas. This is soft and pleasant on the palate, a bit yeasty with lots of floral character, tangerine and mango flavors, a bit of grapefruit and a tingle on the very finish. Creamy and refreshing.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Extra Dry Picks</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>La Farra Rive di Farra di Soligo Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry Valdobbiadene 2017</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Generous aromatics of floral pear, apple and peach with light powdered sugar and a cold butter note. Balanced and full palate of tart lime and fresh green apple, classic citrus notes with a touch of tangerine and a bit of complexity throughout, mostly due to a warm toast spiking at times and imparting yeast and croissant baked notes with a finish of pear and honey. 92 pts.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Astoria Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry Valdobbiadene NV</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Soft fruity aromas of light melon and lemon with green apple notes. Perky and refreshing on the palate with lots of acidity, peach and melon flavors and a juicy apple palate that finishes with a bit of toasted yeast and citrus pith.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Mongarda Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry Valdobbiadene 2017</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Fresh citrus and peach aromas, a bit light on the nose but carrying a touch of a green note. The palate has some complexity of flavors, fresh herbs, green apple, pear and lemon flavors mix with a medium plus acidity and a creamy textured mouthfeel, finishing with a bit more grassiness and fresh tangerine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Branched Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry Valdobbiadene 2017</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Creamy vanilla and floral peach aromas with ripe apple notes on the nose. The palate is toasted and bready with some fruit notes of grapefruit and green apple, fresh spice, austere and earthy topnotes and a finish of dried stone fruit and toasted wood spices.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Brut Picks</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Ville d&rsquo;Arfanta Prosecco Superiore Brut Valdobbiadene 2017</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Citrus zest and light straw aromas, a touch of lime and ocean salinity. Tart, zesty and refreshing with expansive bubbles, notes of grapefruit and lime zest, white pepper spice and a creamy, dried apricot note on the finish with a hint of beeswax. Clean and very dry.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Bortolomiol Prior Prosecco Superiore Brut Valdobbiadene 2017</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Stony and mineral notes with dried peach and apricot aromas, hints of citrus and some ripe melon. Dry and fresh palate or crisp citrus, tart acidity, lemon and lime flavors, with nice spice on the finish.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Sanfeletto Prosecco Superiore Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene NV</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Mineral notes of stony lemon and melon with light lime zest on the nose. Bracingly acidic and bursting with fresh citrus flavors on the palate, this is tart with salinity and cool green apple notes, finishing with steely citrus pith and the slightest biscuit note.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Bosco di Gica Prosecco Superiore Brut Valdobbiadene NV</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Nicely aromatic with clean floral aromas of green apple and peach. Crisp, clean and refreshing palate of lemon and lime with a full mouthfeel of sharp bubbles, edgy lines and fruit flavors of apple and grapefruit on the short finish.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Malibran Cremadora Prosecco Col Fondo Valdobbiadene 2016</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Creamy, toasted aromas of melon with some citrus pith. Intriguing flavors of dark toast and wood box, this is earthy and carries a lot of citrus from the mid palate through to the crisp finish. This is dry and earthy/dusty with lots of acidity and muted fruit.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> </p> Sun, 30 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0500 article7109 One of Tuscany's Best Kept Secrets http://www.snooth.com/articles/maremma/?viewall=1 Mark Angelillo <p><div><br /> You know the wines of Tuscany, sure &ndash; but it&rsquo;s such a blanket term. Drill a bit deeper and there&rsquo;s a world of hidden gems to discover far beyond the ones you already know.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The area around the town of Grosseto, along the Mediterranean coast in southwest Tuscany, is known as Maremma. The coastal location benefits from the region&rsquo;s prized maritime climate. Major wine estates began popping up in the late 90s and early 2000s, as notable producers seized upon the area&rsquo;s potential.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> While Tuscany writ-large is synonymous with the Sangiovese grape, Maremma is different. Here, we see the region&rsquo;s potential for a variety of grapes &ndash; including those hailing from France, used to make both blends and varietal wines. In fact, less than half of Maremma&rsquo;s 8,550 hectares are used to grow Sangiovese.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This is a land of experimentation led by a coterie of skilled winemakers thirsty for something new. The region became an officially recognized consortium in 2014. Look for DOC Maremma Toscana on the label. (Sometimes, it&rsquo;s Maremma Toscana DOC depending on the producer.) Best of all, the wines pack a ton of value. Here&rsquo;s a quick guide to the wines coming out of the eclectic region right now.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> <strong>Vermentino</strong><br /> <div><br /> <br /><br /> This is a grape at which Maremma excels and you will see a lot of it coming out of the region. Most believe it hails from northwest Italy. There is a certain essence to this grape &ndash; an underlying fizz, a buzz, that hearkens to the first cut of a crisp green-and-red mottled apple. These are fragrant, floral, and spicy wines. And coming out of Maremma, value is abundant. You should be able to find these at your local retail shop:&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Rocca di Montemassi Calasole Vermentino 2017 &ndash; Average SRP $13</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Val Delle Rose Litorale Vermentino 2017 &ndash; Average SRP $11</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Sangiovese</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I&rsquo;m really excited to see the value available in Maremma Sangiovese bottles. While you can find more premium examples from Maremma (Poggio Cagnano Altaripa is an example), these quality bottles are available at affordable prices. Two to try:&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Berretta Maremma Toscana DOC Rosso 2016 &ndash; Average SRP $15</em></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Il Civettaio Sangiovese Maremma Toscana DOC 2013 &ndash; Average SRP $18</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Beyond the Beaten Path</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Mazzei family has been making wine in Tuscany since the 1300s &ndash; that&rsquo;s not a typo. Seven hundred years of experience is nearly unfathomable. The Mazzei&rsquo;s led the charge to Maremma in the mid-90s, settling the seventy-hectare Belguardo Estate.&nbsp; The Maremma Toscana DOC is mostly a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, although the proportions change. It&rsquo;s a Wine Spectator Top 100 favorite &ndash; and a favorite of mine, too. The first vintage dates back to 2000, leading the way for other Maremma producers to experiment with non-indigenous grape varietals. Merlot (look for La Chimera D&rsquo;Albegna) and Syrah (look for Casteani Marujo) are not uncommon, and the experimentation is sure to continue.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> But get this &ndash; Maremma is also producing a bunch of Ciliegiolo. And because it&rsquo;s one of the under-sung grapes out there right now, value runs high. The grape name means &ldquo;cherry&rdquo;, and that&rsquo;s no surprise. The wines are juicy and full-bodied with accented by berry and spice notes. Cantina Vignaioli Scansano is a good bet.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Hit the Road</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Sick of drinking at home? It&rsquo;s time to plan your 2019 travel. Maremma, the territory itself, is an eno-tourist&rsquo;s dream. Explore the Silver Coast, Etruscan Coast, and historic down of Grosseto. Producers will welcome you with opened arms. This is an of Tuscany that isn&rsquo;t overrun with commercial tourism. It&rsquo;s perfect for the savvy eno-traveler. <a href="http://www.consorziovinimaremma.it/">Learn more here</a>. Buon viaggio!&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> </p> Sat, 29 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0500 article7105 Can you pair wine with curry? http://www.snooth.com/articles/can-you-pair-wine-with-curry/?viewall=1 John Downes <p>After all the Christmas and New Year festivities, I have to escape for a good curry! We all have a favourite curry but matching these exotic dishes with wine can be tricky. Come to think of it, I often drink lager! But, as restaurant lists improve giving more thought to your wine can brings tasty rewards.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The spicy flavours of Indian food are not perfect partners for reds but the lighter style Beaujolais (Gamay grape from Burgundy in Central France), Loire Valley reds such as Saumur-Champigny and Chinon (Cabernet Franc from around the Anjou-Saumur region) and Barbara d&rsquo;Asti the soft Italian from Piemonte, go well with milder Korma, Rogan Josh and Pacanda dishes. Interestingly, I&rsquo;ve recently been served these wines slightly chilled to give an extra dimension to these exotic matches.<br /> For medium strength dishes like Dopiaza and Bhuna, more powerful reds are called for; Zweigelt, the grape that gives its name to this Austrian beauty, a blockbuster Shiraz from Australia&rsquo;s baking Barossa Valley or a Californian Zinfandel come to mind.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> For me though, curry&rsquo;s best bed fellow is white wine; a crisp, Cotes de Gascogne (from the relatively neutral Colombard grape) from south west France and Muscadet, the under-rated wine from the vineyards around Nantes are generally a safe bet with anything from a mild Tikka to a lively Balti or the hot-sweet-sour flavours of Dansak. Semillon and Chardonnay from Australia, and blends of these two classic varieties are wine list regulars and will never let you down. Understandably neutral flavoured Italians also link well with Indian spices; Soave (from Veneto) and Frascati (Lazio) are well worth a shot. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Gewurztraminer, that&rsquo;s the name of the grape by the way, from the Alsace region in north east France is also a good partner for Indian cuisine as its unique spice aromas and flavours are in harmony with Indian spices, curds and oriental herbs. Alsace wines are generally a good bet with Indian cuisine, a partnership not lost on &lsquo;Wines of Alsace&rsquo; whose international marketing campaign links their wines (look out for Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris as well as Gewurztraminer) with Asian food.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I recently saw Puligny Montrachet, one of the world&rsquo;s finest whites from Burgundy&rsquo;s finest Chardonnay vineyards, on an Indian restaurant wine list. I wasn&rsquo;t tempted as the Indian spices would mask this fabulous wine but it shows how Indian restaurants are taking their food-wine combinations very seriously. If you do want to try a white Burgundy with your next &lsquo;Indian&rsquo; look out for the likes of Montagny, Givry or Mercurey; good value from the Chalonnaise region, south of Beaune.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> At the other end of the scale, many Indian restaurants now list Champagne, often with a surprisingly low price tag. If you want a cheaper bubbly though go for Cava (Spain), Prosecco (Italy) or an Australian, as sparkling wine goes really well with curry.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> But, I can hear you say, never mind the expensive stuff, what about the wine I pick up from my local bottle shop with my usual Friday night takeaway. OK, add these wines to your scribbled order; Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre or a fruity number from New Zealand), Viognier from the south of France or, if you&rsquo;re in a red mood pick up a Chilean Pinot Noir or a New Zealand Merlot, or viceroy-versa.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Curry and wine matching is getting easier as wine lists improve. You can of course order your usual lager next Friday night but just for a change, go on, ask for the wine list. Your friends will be really impressed and they&rsquo;ll enjoy the wines. That said, if you&rsquo;re a Madras or Vindaloo fan &hellip;. I&rsquo;d stick to lager!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>John, one of only 380 Masters of Wine in the world, is a corporate entertainer, TV &amp; Radio&nbsp; broadcaster and writer on wine.</em></p> Mon, 17 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0500 article7104 A refresher on Wines of Chile http://www.snooth.com/articles/chile-wine-101/?viewall=1 <p><em>Here at Snooth, we&#39;ve loved wines of Chile for a long time - since we started the site back in 2008. And now, ten years later, we still do. Take a refresher course on the wines of Chile before you pick up a bottle this weekend.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Chilean wine has had an interesting past few decades in the established markets of the northern hemisphere. The UK in particular has enjoyed these wines for decades, taking advantage of their modest prices and rather large capacity to satisfy the needs to both regular wine drinkers but more importantly those new to the pursuit. In hindsight it has proven to be a great strategy, with the UK remaining the most important market per capita for Chilean wine exports.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Chile&rsquo;s wines appeal to the UK crowd, as well as wine lovers around the world, because they offer great value but beyond that there is something familiar about these wines that a European audience can relate to. Blessed with fine weather, there is more fruit here than on might find with a European wine but at the same time the underlying structure and framework can trace its lineage right back to the old world.&nbsp;<br /> Chile&rsquo;s wines appeal to the UK crowd, as well as wine lovers around the world, because they offer great value but beyond that there is something familiar about these wines that a European audience can relate to. Blessed with fine weather, there is more fruit here than on might find with a European wine but at the same time the underlying structure and framework can trace its lineage right back to the old world.&nbsp;</p> Fri, 14 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0500 article4981 The Greatest White Wines In The World http://www.snooth.com/articles/the-greatest-white-wines-in-the-world/?viewall=1 Michelle Williams <p>A commune in the Cote d&rsquo;Or, ten kilometers from Beaune, lies Puligny-Montrachet. The mere whisper of the name causes oenophiles to perk up. Why? This sleepy 400-inhabitant village is synonymous with the greatest white wines of the world.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> A storied appellation, Puligny-Montrachet was created in 1879, when Puligny received permission from the French government to hyphenate its name to its famous Grand Cru vineyard, Montrachet. Although a small percentage of Pinot Noir is produced here, it&rsquo;s hallowed for Chardonnay.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This is a place where terroir reigns supreme. Complex soils weave together like a tapestry, with limestone, especially on the slopes, playing a leading role. The climate is continental - warm, dry summers and cool winters. Fog and hail loom as constant threats in the spring. Generations of winemakers have studied the area&rsquo;s topography, developing a detailed map of the region in an effort to understand its influence on the wine.<br /> In the late 1930&rsquo;s four Grand Cru vineyards were established - Le Montrachet, B&acirc;tard-Montrachet, Chevalier Montrachet and Bienvenues-B&acirc;tard-Montrachet. Fifty years later, in 1984, the land around the village was officially demarcated and classified into seventeen Premier Cru vineyard sites. Situated between Chassagne-Montrachet (south) and Meursault (north), the wines of Puligny-Montrachet are revered for high minerality and firm structure. Case in point, at this year&rsquo;s Hospice de Beaune, a single barrel of B&acirc;tard-Montrachet sold for $152,440, establishing a new record.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Domaine Leflaive</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The most famous estate in Puligny-Montrachet is Domaine Leflaive. With ancestry in Puligny dating back to 1717, the Domaine was founded by Joseph Leflaive in 1870. In 1990, Anne-Claude Leflaive took the helm, spearheading the winery into a leader in Burgundy&rsquo;s biodynamic viticulture. After years of chemical farming, she believed the soil&rsquo;s microbials were out of balance and the health of the vineyards needed to be restored. Beginning with small experiments, by 1997, the entire Domaine was being farmed using biodynamic principles.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Upon her untimely death in 2015, Brice de la Morandiere, great-grandson of Joseph Leflaive, retired from twenty-seven years managing multi-national corporations to run the Domaine. Morandiere shares, &ldquo;I returned because it&rsquo;s important the Domaine is run by family to keep it steered toward excellence.&rdquo; Since becoming managing partner, Morandiere is expanding the winery&rsquo;s presence in M&acirc;connais, explaining he is &ldquo;seeking to find the best expressions, even singling out specific terroir in search of unique vineyard sites&rdquo; for future wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2016 Vintage</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> I recently tasted through eleven wines from Domaine Leflaive&rsquo;s 2016 vintage with Morandiere. The biggest challenge of 2016, he explains, happened on the morning of April 27 &ndash; frost. &ldquo;It would not have been so bad had it not rained the day prior,&rdquo; adding, &ldquo;moisture crystalized on the buds overnight, when the sun came out the moisture burned the buds, 80% of the grapes were destroyed.&rdquo; On the bright side, the remaining berries became highly concentrating, resulting in a small yet stellar vintage.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Impressions</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Domaine Leflaive produces wines from all four Puligny-Montrachet Grand Crus, four Premier Crus, plus one Mersault Premier Cru, and four additional wines from M&acirc;con-Verz&eacute;, Pouilly-Fuiss&eacute;, Puligny-Montrachet, and Bourgogne. I tasted all but three &ndash; Montrachet Grand Cru (unavailable due to limited production), Pouilly-Fuiss&eacute;, and Puligny-Montrachet.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> My overall impression of my first Domaine Leflaive tasting - wow. Beginning with the simple elegance of M&acirc;con-Verz&eacute;, through all four Premier Crus, and ending with three Grand Crus, I was in wine heaven. I took notes, but upon reflection found them useless - asking myself, &ldquo;these are some of the greatest white wines in the world, what do notes matter?&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The wines were characteristically shy for their age, muted orchard and under-ripe stone fruit, steely minerality, mouth-watering salinity, and lanolin evolving as I marched toward the Grand Crus. The redundancy demonstrated in my notes emphasizes the wines elegance, linear focus, finesse, and expressive terroir. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The three Grand Crus really grabbed my attention. The Chevalier-Montrachet was the most demonstrative of the group, round, with notes of butterscotch and ripe apple. After tasting the B&acirc;tard-Montrachet I wrote &ldquo;slap my momma,&rdquo; translation &ndash; amazing. Finally, the Bienvenues-B&acirc;tard-Montrachet reminisced of a baked cinnamon apple pie. A favorite? Not a chance. Each of these wines truly stuns.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Built for ageing, tasting the 2016 vintage does no justice to how these wines will evolve, except to say they are going to dazzle. Buy a bottle, age it properly for twenty years, and then drink it. You&rsquo;re welcome.</p> Fri, 30 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500 article7100 Your Thanksgiving Holiday Show-Stopper http://www.snooth.com/articles/your-thanksgiving-holiday-show-stopper/?viewall=1 Mark Angelillo <p>We ought to banish preconceived notions in all areas of life, especially wine. You&rsquo;ve probably heard a lot about how Bordeaux&rsquo;s late harvest wines should be consumed. I implore you to throw it all out the window, and listen here to the learnings of our most recent tasting. Renowned Master of Wine Mary Gorman-McAdams walked us through a selection of eight Golden Bordeaux wines across several appellations and vintages &ndash; including dearly beloved Sauternes. While many of us already understand the possibilities of Golden Bordeaux, a large number of wine drinkers in the United States are uninitiated.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Join us on our journey to spread the #GoGoldenBordeaux message. Grab a few bottles for your holiday table and trot out some of our impressive pairings &ndash; from appetizers to third courses and beyond. Golden Bordeaux is a common party wine in France, after all.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Golden Bordeaux wines come in half-bottle sizes, and they last for months or more in your fridge. These are uniquely colored, complex, layered and rich late-harvest wines that start conversations. <a href="http://www.snooth.com/virtual-tasting/video/gogoldenbordeaux-virtual-tasting/"><strong>Click here to watch the full tasting</strong></a>.&nbsp; Read on for more details.<br /> The Golden Bordeaux appellations are located on the left and right banks of the Garonne River. The nearby pine forests, in combination with the river, create the famed &ldquo;morning mists&rdquo; &ndash; tufts of humidity that enrobe the region&rsquo;s Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The mist clears, and piping hot sunshine dries out the grapes. The conditions allow friendly spores known as Botrytis Cinerea to develop on the grapes. This is the beginning of the hallowed Noble Rot process.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The spores enter the grapes without breaking skins &ndash; rather, the skins become permeable. We watch the grapes shrivel and change color, as something otherworldly happens just inside. Botrytis concentrates flavors inside the berry while creating brand new ones. Noble Rot brings an unmatched intensity and richness that cannot be replicated.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Golden Bordeaux harvest is a slow and manual process. Botrytis patterns are unpredictable &ndash; it comes in waves, within the same bunch. Each grape is individually assessed and picked.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>How to Enjoy Golden Bordeaux Wines</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The fruit flavors in a Golden Bordeaux wine range from exotic stone to orange and lemon citrus.&nbsp; You will find savory undercurrents, too &ndash; beds of mushrooms covered in dark soil. The wines age beautifully, revealing butterscotch, cream and vanilla notes. Hints of leather and saline, too.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> There are three things to look for in a dish when pairing Golden Bordeaux: spice, salt, and richness. Here are a few examples that fit into one or more of the three categories:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Root Vegetables</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Caramelize them in the oven, then douse in salt and pepper. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Spiced Nuts</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Use hot or cool spices. Toss them in a salad along with golden raisins for a perfect holiday pairing.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Stuff it with Jalape&ntilde;o</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Bring on the heat! Stuff Jalape&ntilde;o inside olives, mushrooms, or even a chicken breast to create an environment suitable for Golden Bordeaux.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Perfect Pork</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Slather it with apricot jelly or coat in cayenne. Golden Bordeaux is a great fit for main course pork dishes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Bring on the Beef</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Cover your sliders in a Bavarian-style mustard. Lay out a platter of sweet and spicy jerky.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Virtual Tasting Wines and Pairings from Mary</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Try one or some of these selections. Mary&rsquo;s supreme pairings are sure to inspire your own. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Chateau Manos Cadillac 2016</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Mary&rsquo;s pairing: Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Chateau Loupiac-Gaudiet 2016</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Mary&#39;s Pairing: Green Papaya Salad with Beef<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Ch&acirc;teau la Rame Sainte Croix du Mont 2015</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Mary&rsquo;s pairing: BLT Sandwich with Spicy Avocado<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Chateau du Cros Loupiac 2014</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Mary&rsquo;s pairing: Jumbo Lump Crab Gratin with Bay Seasoning<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Chateau Dauphine Rondillon Loupiac 2011</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Mary&rsquo;s pairing: Mexican Pozole - fish stew<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Chateau Lapinesse Sauternes 2016</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Mary&rsquo;s pairing: Roasted Oysters with Bone Marrow and Chili Butter<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Chateau Filhot Sauternes 2015</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Mary&rsquo;s pairing: Seared scallops with coconut lemongrass sauce<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Castelnau de Suduiraut Sauternes 2006</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Mary&rsquo;s pairing: Grilled lobster with lemon paprika butter<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/virtual-tasting/video/gogoldenbordeaux-virtual-tasting/"><strong>Watch the full virtual tasting here.</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> </p> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500 article7097 This is your holiday pairing companion. http://www.snooth.com/articles/this-is-your-holiday-pairing-companion/?viewall=1 Mark Angelillo <p>We&rsquo;re all in a dish-pairing frenzy as the big holidays approach. Good counsel has arrived: One of my favorite wine educators, Lyn Farmer, sat down with to us to discuss a most perfect holiday pairing companion - R&iacute;as Baixas Albari&ntilde;o.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> We talked about a bunch of potential pairings, but don&rsquo;t hesitate to try one of your own. R&iacute;as Baixas Albari&ntilde;o is a low-risk pairing wine for a number of reasons.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s high in acid, and lower in alcohol. It won&rsquo;t interfere with the dish at hand.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Located in Northwestern Spain (right above Portugal), R&iacute;as Baixas is home to five rivers. They all empty into the Atlantic Ocean. This moderates temperatures and brings a good deal of breeze over the Albari&ntilde;o grapes. The resulting wines have an undercurrent of salinity. They are acidic, crisp, and aromatic. And while no two bottles of R&iacute;as Baixas Albari&ntilde;o are the same, you can count on a number of classic flavors: white peach, floral, citrus, with just a kiss of almond and hazelnut notes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> You can watch the virtual tasting event <a href="http://www.snooth.com/virtual-tasting/video/your-holiday-pairing-companion-is-rias-baixas-albarino/"><strong>here</strong></a>. Read on for some key learnings.<br /> Lyn and I tasted five different R&iacute;as Baixas Albari&ntilde;o wines, spinning a few pairing ideas for each one. The wines are widely available &ndash; you can get the five that we tasted <a href="https://www.snooth.com/offers/the-rias-baixas-albarino-pairing-pack/"><strong>right here on Snooth</strong></a>. R&iacute;as Baixas Albari&ntilde;o is a sommelier favorite, so there&rsquo;s a chance some of your guests have seen it on a menu &ndash; and already love it. What&rsquo;s more, the wines can age for a few years. If you don&rsquo;t get through all of your bottles this season, open them next year - or five years from now - and they will be fresh. That&rsquo;s the magic of a high acid wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Bodegas As Laxas Sensum NV (Sparkling Albari&ntilde;o)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> We don&rsquo;t see sparkling Albari&ntilde;o every day, but I hope this will change. It&rsquo;s made in the classic method, but tastes nothing like Champagne. That&rsquo;s a good thing. It should be experienced as its own entity. It&rsquo;s perfect for that opening holiday toast and pass-around appetizers. Lyn suggests canapes and coconut shrimp. I&rsquo;m a fan of <a href="http://eat.snooth.com/recipe-pairing-guide/r/spanish-olive-and-cream-cheese-canapes/"><strong>this Spanish Olives and Cream Cheese Canapes recipe</strong></a>.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Pazo Pondal Albari&ntilde;o 2016</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> We had fun playing around with some first course ideas here. Soup is the perfect starter &ndash; something with a little bit of cream, like this <a href="http://eat.snooth.com/recipe-pairing-guide/chicken/r/wild-rice-and-mushroom-soup-with-almonds/"><strong>Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup with Almonds</strong></a>. Lyn had a genius suggestion with a soup hailing from the region itself. It&rsquo;s called <a href="http://eat.snooth.com/recipe-pairing-guide/r/caldo-gallego-white-bean-soup/"><strong>Caldo Gallego</strong></a>. The white beans, potatoes, smoked ham, and greens give you lots of creamy notes &ndash; without any actual cream. Richer soups will amplify the fresh citrus and lychee notes in the wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Santiago Ruiz Albari&ntilde;o 2017</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Seventy-six percent of the grapes in this bottle are Albari&ntilde;o. The rest are a blend of local grapes, vinified separately and blended with careful attention to detail. The wine is thus aromatically complex &ndash; delivering a &ldquo;greenness&rdquo; that is the perfect foil for caramelized vegetables, like <a href="http://eat.snooth.com/recipe-pairing-guide/r/oven-roasted-parsnips-and-carrots/"><strong>carrots and parsnips</strong></a>. If you&rsquo;re ready for the main event, <a href="http://eat.snooth.com/recipe-pairing-guide/turkey/roasted-turkey/r/dry-rubbed-roast-turkey-with-pan-gravy/"><strong>turkey doused in gravy isn&rsquo;t a bad idea, either</strong></a>.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Altos de Torona Rosal 2017</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> It&rsquo;s dessert time. Cheese plates all around! Lyn mentions the Spanish favorite Membrillo, or quince paste.&nbsp; It contains just three ingredients: quince, sugar, and lemon, cooked into a reddish paste. The naturally high pectin content gives the paste its firm and jelly like texture, perfect for a Manchego cheese. I also like this recipe for <a href="http://eat.snooth.com/recipe-pairing-guide/r/poached-pears-with-quince-paste-in-parmesan-cloaks/"><strong>Poached Pears with Quince Paste in Parmesan Cloaks</strong></a>. You can play off the nutty notes in this wine with some <a href="http://eat.snooth.com/recipe-pairing-guide/r/hazelnut-almond-crescents/"><strong>Hazelnut Almond Crescents</strong></a> &ndash; or just serve nuts as they are, in their shells, with enough nutcrackers to go around the table.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Rectoral do Umia S.A.U. Marqu&eacute;s de Fr&iacute;as 2017</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> It&rsquo;s the day after! Time to recover &ndash; or is it? There&rsquo;s no shame in pairing your Thanksgiving leftovers with R&iacute;as Baixas Albari&ntilde;o, but hot breakfast or brunch is another option. Lyn points to <a href="http://eat.snooth.com/recipe-pairing-guide/r/traditional-eggs-benedict/"><strong>Eggs Benedict</strong></a> as a great choice, and I couldn&rsquo;t agree more. It could be time for some seafood, too. This <a href="http://eat.snooth.com/recipe-pairing-guide/seafood/salmon/r/seared-salmon-with-avocado-shrimp-and-mango-salsa/"><strong>Seared-Salmon with Avocado Shrimp and Mango Salsa</strong></a> will do the trick.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/virtual-tasting/video/your-holiday-pairing-companion-is-rias-baixas-albarino/"><strong>Watch the full tasting here</strong></a>. <a href="https://www.snooth.com/offers/the-rias-baixas-albarino-pairing-pack/"><strong>Buy the wines here</strong></a>. Happy pairing!</p> Tue, 20 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500 article7096 Start a fight at Thanksgiving with these wine grapes. http://www.snooth.com/articles/start-a-fight-at-thanksgiving-with-these-wine-grapes/?viewall=1 Snooth Editorial <p>Yesterday we focused on consensus wine grapes. The grapes enjoy name recognition, and they won&rsquo;t threaten the wine newbies at your holiday table. Wine geeks, however, shouldn&rsquo;t hesitate to share their arcane wine knowledge. Just make sure you have an Everyman wine at your disposal in case your recommendations fall flat.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This Thanksgiving we are grateful to know that people want more wine. Overall wine consumption in the United States increased by 400 million gallons between 1993 and 2018. That&rsquo;s an additional 1.6 billion bottles over twenty-three years.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Help spread the joy of unique wine grapes this holiday season. People are listening, and it&rsquo;s really easy. Perhaps you&rsquo;re already armed with some curious grapes. If not, here are a few favorites to start the conversation. Will they spark dissensus? It&rsquo;s all delicious wine, enjoyed during one of the United States&rsquo; most widely observed holidays &ndash; so the answer is, probably not.<br /> </p> Fri, 16 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500 article7094 The Best Wine Grapes for Thanksgiving http://www.snooth.com/articles/he-best-wine-grapes-for-thanksgiving/?viewall=1 Snooth Editorial <p>Wine grapes are deperately vying for your attention. There are over ten thousand varietals out there - that&#39;s fierce competition. It takes about two and a half pounds of grapes to make a 750 mL bottle of wine. If you split a bottle with someone, you&#39;ve just consumed a pound of grapes. It&#39;s no wonder we get to know these varieties so intimately.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> There&#39;s a lot of consumption around this time of year, and you&#39;ve got tons of choices to make. Allow the mainstay wine grapes to help quiet the holiday din. These grapes tend to please everyone - from your wine expert cousin to your sister&#39;s boyfriend. You know, the guy who jokingly calls it Cabaret Franc.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> You may hear the term &#39;international varieties&#39; bandied about in the wine world. The term is not official, but generally refers to grapes that have found success far beyond their ancestral homes. These are the consensus grapes. Most of us can agree that they are drinkable and delicious. Holidays are rife with disagreements, but they need not extend to the wine in your glass.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Here are a few consensus grapes to keep the peace at your holiday table.<br /> </p> Thu, 15 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500 article7093 There’s more to Bordeaux than meets the eye. http://www.snooth.com/articles/there-ys-more-to-bordeaux-than-meets-the-eye/?viewall=1 Sara Lehman <p>On a recent trip to Bordeaux, I had the extreme pleasure of exploring a particular group of appellations. A very particular group.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This is the group of appellations where botrytis-covered grapes are the bread and butter for many wineries. Botrytis Cinerea, also known as &quot;noble rot,&quot; is a favorable mold that grows on ripe wine grapes. This growth happens in the vineyard under specific climatic conditions. They rely on the right amount of fog, which helps the botrytis grow, producing wines that are rich and complex. Many are high in residual sugar.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> But that doesn&rsquo;t mean you can&rsquo;t pair them with savory foods!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Wines from this area are often misunderstood. Some believe that they must age to get better. Others believe they should only be enjoyed at the beginning or end of a meal. But winemakers here are producing these late harvest wines in fresh styles that are light and airy. They are meant to be consumed young, and enjoyed often.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> These are the wines of Golden Bordeaux.<br /> The Bordeaux areas that are producing these botrytized wines include Sauternes, Cadillac, Barsac, Loupiac, C&eacute;rons, Graves Sup&eacute;rieures, Sainte-Croix-Du-Mont, and Premi&eacute;res C&ocirc;tes de Bordeaux. Some of these may be familiar to you as the region has a deep history in late harvest wine production. The ten appellations have 3,000 hectares of vines growing on each side of the Garonne River. Each area has its own unique characteristics due to the terroir differences, and it&rsquo;s said that the vines must suffer to produce great wine. The poor soils here force the vines to sink their roots down into the ground for nourishment. It&rsquo;s amazing to see how vastly different the Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes grow in this region. Normally on a wine list or in a wine store, you will find these &ldquo;golden wines&rdquo; in the dessert wine section. This is a very common misunderstanding due to the wine&rsquo;s sugar levels, which makes it prone to being categorized as a sweet wine. These wines are full of fruit, and may feel sweet, but that does not mean they&rsquo;re only suitable for dessert. In fact, it&rsquo;s just the opposite!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The wines are begging to be paired with savory snacks and dishes including cheese, French cuisine, Japanese cuisine, and healthy vegetarian options. These brilliant Bordeaux wines are perfect for all occasions and are commonly consumed in France as an aperitif, as a cocktail, or with savory food.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> If you find yourself sipping wines from the Loupiac area, try <strong>Ch&acirc;teau du Cros</strong> with Japanese cuisine. I had the pleasure of joining world renowned Chef Junko Sakurai, who showcases these wines with traditional Japanese cuisine, and highlights that the saltiness in this style of food works very well with the fruity flavors and honey characters in the wines. The <strong>2015 Ch&acirc;teau du Cros</strong> pairs nicely with Salmon Tataki topped with Yuzu sauce, ginger, and shiso. The smooth texture of the salmon combined with the pungent ginger and sweet yuzu sauce brings out the mineral notes and saltiness in the wines. Dashi stock is a big part of the Japanese cuisine, and is a salty stock full of wonderful flavors that work well with the honey, vanilla, and balanced citrus zest in the Chateau du Cros wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Due to the high sugar content, these wines naturally play well with salty and spicy foods. It&rsquo;s no surprise because we pair other sweeter style wines with spicy food, but many don&rsquo;t put these particular wines into that category. It&rsquo;s time to change that!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> If you want to enjoy this wine as an aperitif before dinner, with cheese, Cadillac is a great area. There are a lot of varieties when it comes to French cheeses, so don&rsquo;t be too overwhelmed when trying to choose which pairing is best. Goat cheeses from the Loire Valley work well with Golden Bordeaux wines, as well as more pungent cow milk cheeses from Burgundy and Grenoble. French cheeses are pungent but not overpowering, giving the wines their time to shine and express their fruity characteristics. This is good for those who are adventurous when it comes to cheese, but don&rsquo;t want to dive into the stronger cheese options. When pairing these wines with Roquefort and blue cheese, you will find a harmonious pairing full of complexity and minerality, due to the honey and spice aromas and flavors in the Bordeaux wines. The cheeses are strong, but when paired with golden wines from Cadillac, they soften and seamlessly work together thanks to the wine&rsquo;s acidity, fruit flavors, and freshness. &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> While eating and drinking our way through Bordeaux, we stopped in Bommes (a commune in the Sauternes area) to meet Laure de Lambert, owner of <strong>Ch&acirc;teau Sigalas-Rabaud</strong> for lunch. Renowned Chef Olivier showcased how easily these wines can be enjoyed with gluten free and vegetarian meals, which is not often thought of. The wines show their best when in contrast with other flavors, so when Chef Olivier presented 5 courses of root vegetable and mushroom inspired dishes, it was a delightful surprise. The <strong>2016 Ch&acirc;teau Sigalas-Rabaud</strong> Sauternes paired with mushroom bruschetta and hazelnut oil is a prime example of a great pairing. The wine is fresh and vibrant, expressing notes of honey and stone fruit, which pair nicely with raw mushrooms on crusty French bread topped with just a touch of seasoning. The complexity in these wines, especially the <strong>2017 Le 5 Sauternes</strong>, also paired well with Greek mushrooms, cooked in olive oil and tossed in thyme, onion, salt and pepper.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The golden wines from Bordeaux marry well with a number of other dishes including oysters, fish, seafood, and white meats. Some of the best pairings I had during my stay were at <strong>Chateau de Fargues</strong>, where we enjoyed their wines with oysters, fish, roasted fennel, and of course, blue cheese. At Chateau de Fargues, their only caveat is to avoid overly sweet desserts, and in fact they don&rsquo;t classify their wines as dessert wines. They believe the wines show best when they are paired with opposing flavors and textures. I couldn&rsquo;t agree more!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Wines from these appellations in Bordeaux will make you think differently about the region and hopefully expand your wine pairing options. Don&rsquo;t shy away from these wines, instead, bring them to your holiday gatherings where they can be enjoyed with meats and savory sides. Thanksgiving is an ideal food pairing holiday to start your journey towards appreciating the beauty of these wines. Turkey is lean, gravy is salty, and if you add in some creamy sides, you have a perfect pairing with honey-driven, fresh wines like Golden Bordeaux. Experiment and open your palate. You won&rsquo;t be disappointed.</p> Wed, 14 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500 article7092 Try this aperitif before heading out to dinner. http://www.snooth.com/articles/try-this-aperitif-before-heading-out-to-dinner/?viewall=1 Mark Angelillo <p>Roussillon&rsquo;s dry wines are go-tos, especially around the holidays. The quality-to-value ratio is superb. In fact, we have a really nice set of <a href="https://www.snooth.com/offers/roussillon-holiday-array-6-pack-1/"><strong>Roussillon wines available here</strong></a> -- but there&rsquo;s a lot more to say about this unique region.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> My first introduction to Roussillon was the Domaine Cazes Vin Doux Naturels Rivesaltes 1994. This happened long before I kept digital tasting notes (the only way to do it!) It was served as an aperitif, in port-style glasses, before heading out to dinner. It&rsquo;s a ritual I&rsquo;ve repeated many times since.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Vin Doux Naturels, or VDNs, underpin Roussillon&rsquo;s history. The lightly fortified wines account for ninety percent of France&rsquo;s Vin Doux Naturel production. The wines begin fermenting in the usual fashion -- but when we intervene, something spectacular happens.<br /> The intervention is called mutage. It was discovered in 1285 at the University of Montpellier &ndash; which happens to be located in the Roussillon area. Mutage goes a little something like this: Fermentation is arrested, on purpose, with a neutral-flavored, high-proof spirit. When it comes to VDN, the neutral spirit can be added at or near the beginning of fermentation. The leftover sugars increase sweetness and alcohol level. VDNs preserve the essence of grapes as they ripened on the vine &ndash; a &ldquo;grapey&rdquo; characteristic that can be hard to find in a dry wine. While some VDNs (like those made with Muscat) are intended for consumption in youth, others age for decades in wood or glass vessels.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> There&rsquo;s a growing movement toward rancio sec VDNs. This is an oxidative aging process (exposing the wine to light, air, etc.) that obliterates all notions of fruit in the final product. Instead the wine develops complex and unusual notes &ndash; think dark leathers and exotic spice. What fun!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &lsquo;Tis the season for celebratory dinners. There&rsquo;s ample opportunity to include Roussillon VDN in your drink plan. Here are three key Roussillon sub-regions to consider. Each one is a master of VDN. Look for these names on the label or in your web search.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Banyuls</strong><br /><br /> Banyuls produces highly respected VDN wines on steep terraces abutting Spain. While you can find Banyuls in a dry style, its Grenache-based dessert wines are of superior quality. They are often described as the quintessential chocolate pairing wine. The term Rimage (a Catalan word meaning &ldquo;vintage&rdquo;) is a high-quality indicator. Rimage wines are aged without oxygen contact for a minimum of twelve months, which helps preserve fresh fruit flavors. One of my favorite producers from this region is <a href="https://www.latourvieille.com/en/home/"><strong>Domaine La Tour Vielle</strong></a>.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Maury</strong><br /><br /> The Maury appellation is in in the hills of the Agly Valley at the foot of the Corbi&egrave;res mountains. It&rsquo;s one of Roussillon&rsquo;s hotter sub-regions, and so pique ripeness is within reach. It is largely composed of black schist soils which bring balance and freshness to the wines. Like Banyuls, Maury is a master of Grenache-based VDNs.&nbsp; (Side note: You can look to Maury for some terrific red and white dry wines, too. They&rsquo;ve become very popular in recent years.) One of my favorite producers from the region is <a href="http://masamiel.fr/en/"><strong>Mas Amiel</strong></a>.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Rivesaltes</strong><br /><br /> Rivesaltes is Roussillon&rsquo;s largest and most popular VDN producing area. The word, Rivesaltes, means &ldquo;high banks&rdquo; in the Catalan language. I&rsquo;m a big fan of Muscat de Rivesaltes -- a sub-sub region, if you will. It is designated for white VDN made from Muscat petits grains and Muscat of Alexandria. The former grape lends exotic fruit and citrus scents, while the latter affords full, ripe fruit aromas of fresh grape and rose. <a href="http://www.gerard-bertrand.com/en/vin-doux-naturel-muscat-de-rivesaltes/"><strong>G&eacute;rard Bertrand</strong></a> does a great job with their Muscat de Rivesaltes.<br /><br /> </p> Tue, 13 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500 article7091 Tavel Rosé Is The Only Wine You Need This Thanksgiving http://www.snooth.com/articles/tavel-rosy-is-the-only-wine-you-need-this-thanksgiving/?viewall=1 Michelle Williams <p>Pause a moment and think about Thanksgiving. Do you roast, smoke, or fry your turkey? Do you season it with citrus and herbs or hickory and bacon? What about sweet potatoes &mdash; do you prefer old-fashioned style, topped with a marshmallow or strudel? Do you serve classic green bean casserole or prefer maple bacon Brussels sprouts? Add the buttery goodness of homemade mashed potatoes and the acidic bite of cranberry sauce and you&rsquo;ve got a complicated meal &mdash; one that could support seven wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Thanksgiving is a tapestry of flavors, textures, and spices &mdash; enough to overwhelm any one wine. I have written many articles recommending ros&eacute; for this feast, a solid choice because of its high acidity. On a recent trip to southern Rh&ocirc;ne, I discovered Tavel, a ros&eacute; unlike any other. This discovery has altered my pairing recommendation from ros&eacute; in general to Tavel in particular.<br /> This ros&eacute; stands at attention in the glass. Bold colors ranging from striking fuchsia, to deep salmon, to light brown topaz, colors that elucidate the seriousness of the wine. &ldquo;We are proud of Tavel&rsquo;s color,&rdquo; explains Thomas Giubbi, Managing Director of Rh&ocirc;ne&rsquo;s Vignobles &amp; Compagnie, &ldquo;we want it to entice the senses.&rdquo; One look and I knew this isn&rsquo;t an Instagram wine, it&rsquo;s a food wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The wines are cuv&eacute;es, comprised of grapes grown in unique soils with particular attention paid to maceration to create a cru ros&eacute;. Severine Lemoine, winemaker at Domaine La Rocali&egrave;re, says it best, &ldquo;A good Tavel is a balance between freshness, fruit, and spice with complex minerality, creating a grand mouthfeel in a gastronomical wine.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Crafted from a blend, Grenache forms the foundation, with Cinsault, Syrah, Clairette, Mourvedre, Picpoul, Bourboulenc, Carignan, and Calitor vying for attention. However, &ldquo;maceration,&rdquo; explains Guillaume Demoulin, fourth-generation winemaker at Ch&acirc;teau de Trinquevedel, &ldquo;is key to expressing the complexity of Tavel.&rdquo; He shares the amount of skin contact time needed varies depending on vintage and variety. &ldquo;Syrah requires only a few hours, whereas Cinsault grapes need a day or more.&rdquo; In addition to maceration, I believe much of the wine&rsquo;s gastronomic style comes from the land.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The small village lies on the right bank of the Rh&ocirc;ne River ten miles north of Avignon and shares the same revered landscape of Ch&acirc;teauneuf-du-Pape. A chalky limestone, known as lauzes, is credited with imparting elegance and minerality into the wines. These are beautiful vineyards, with limestone covering the earth. When I taste these ros&eacute;s the minerality leaps out of the glass &mdash; thank you, lauzes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The eastern and southern aspects contain a classic sandy loam elevating the wines fruit characteristics and finesse. Although not as striking as the other areas, this soil is imperative to the freshness of the wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Finally, on the terraces and gentle slopes southeast of the village lie vineyards composed of red clay blanketed in tan quartzite cobbles, known as galets roul&eacute;s. My mouth fell open as I witnessed stones the size of a loaf of sourdough bread as far as my eyes could see.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> My initial thought was, What monk looked upon acres of fields covered in these enormous stones and said &ldquo;let&rsquo;s plant a vineyard here&rdquo;? These stones are thought to increase the wine&rsquo;s power, structure, and crispness.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> One last key to the wine dots the landscape. As I stood in the vineyards of Ch&acirc;teau de Trinquevedel with Demoulin, I felt overcome by the herbal fragrance of surrounding garrigue &ndash; the aromatic plants that grow wild there. As he explains, &ldquo;Tavel is a cru ros&eacute; with lots of personality &ndash; a true gastronomical wine,&rdquo; I think to myself how could an area engulfed in aromas of juniper, rosemary, thyme, and lavender create anything less?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Here are my recommendations of Tavel ros&eacute; to pair with your Thanksgiving.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2012 Ch&acirc;teau de Trinquevedel Tavel </strong>pours deep fuchsia, red fruit mingle with citrus and stone fruit and dried herbs, a pleasing salinity on the palate with high acidity makes the mouth water.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2017 Domaine La Rocali&egrave;re Perle de Culture Tavel</strong> pours intense pink, raspberry and red currant mingle with herbs and a sea spray minerality, high acidity with a nice lift off the palate is fresh and elegant.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2017 Vignobles &amp; Compagnie Reserve des Chastelles</strong> Tavel another deep fuchsia wine with spice, red fruit, and candied violets, palate offers weight and texture yet balanced with a freshness of blood orange, high acidity, long finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2017 Vignobles &amp; Compagnie Les Combelles Tavel</strong> offers much of the same aromas as the Reserve des Chastelles but with added ripe peach and a meaty savory quality from the Syrah.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2017 Les Vignerons de Tavel Les Lauzeraies Tavel</strong> strawberries collide with stone fruit, dreamcicle, herbal, intense minerality, elegant and refreshing with finesse.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2017 Domaine de la Mordoree La Dame Rousse Tavel</strong> offers juicy fruit forward aromas with spice and herbs on the palate, broad and elegant, intensely delicious.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2017 Domaine de la Mordoree La Reine Des Bois Tavel</strong> deep pink with dazzling notes of blood orange, red berries, spice, dried herbs, minerality, fresh yet bold on the palate, elegant and long.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> *I also tasted the 2010 and 2011 vintages of Domaine de la Mordoree Tavel, the wines age with notes of Christmas potpourri and marmalade, yet retain their freshness and elegance, truly dazzling. Tavel&rsquo;s structure and complexity result in age-worthy ros&eacute;s.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2017 Chateau d&rsquo;Aqueria Tavel</strong> offers a red and white fruit candied nose, sweet violets, spice, elegant, bold, and fresh on the palate with high acidity and firm structure. </p> Mon, 12 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500 article7089 Roussillon wines spread good cheer. http://www.snooth.com/articles/roussillon-wines-spread-good-cheer-1/?viewall=1 <p>France&#39;s Roussillon region is south of Languedoc, and north of Spain. A large swath of its southeastern points border the Mediterranean Sea. The Pyr&eacute;n&eacute;es mountains separate France and Spain to create Roussillon&rsquo;s legendary &ldquo;amphitheater&rdquo; bordered in the north by the Corbi&egrave;res Hills. During daylight hours, this naturally-occurring formation concentrates near-constant sunshine in Roussillon&#39;s grapes. Diurnal shifts guarantee sufficient cooling in the evening and overnight.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Over time, tectonic movements have shuffled Roussillon&rsquo;s underground beds of sediment to create an eclectic array of terroirs which carry through every Roussillon wine. You will taste the composition of compact limestone, clay, silt, marl, schist and more, mixed among the pebbles and rocks, whirring beneath ripe, sun-drenched fruits. The following wines, <a href="https://www.snooth.com/offers/roussillon-holiday-array-6-pack-1/"><strong>available for sale here</strong></a>, demonstrate the region&#39;s capacity for distinct minerality across a mosaic of terroirs in various sub-regions. The pack also showcases the expertise of the region&#39;s winemakers; each blend is unique. Read on to learn more.<br /> </p> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500 article7072 Join the Italian Rosé Revolution http://www.snooth.com/articles/join-the-italian-rosy-revolution/?viewall=1 Alan Tardi <p>The Bardolino and Valpolicella winegrowing areas are located in close proximity to one another on opposite sides of the Adige River in the Veneto region in northeastern Italy, and both utilize the same principal grapes varieties, Corvina and Rondinella (along with some secondary players). But the wines they produce are notably different.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Valpolicella, located in the hills on the eastern side of the Adige, has a cooler continental environment. So cool in fact that grapes sometimes had difficulty ripening and winegrowers developed a practice of drying them before vinification, creating an intensely concentrated, highly alcoholic, decidedly sweet wine now known as Recioto.<br /> While the Romans appreciated the prodigiousness of the eastern area which they dubbed the &ldquo;Valley of Many Cellars,&rdquo; and loved the sweet wine that was made there (though in very small quantities and only for the super elite), the super-elite themselves chose to live on the other side of the river on the shore of Lake Garda where the climate was much more Mediterranean, and built impressive villas and planted lemon trees and olive orchards in addition to vines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Drying grapes was not possible, but it wasn&rsquo;t necessary: the fully-ripened grapes and the mixed morainic soil produced lighter-bodied, more elegant wines that were crisp and refreshing and perfectly suited the sparkling lake, its fresh fish, and the aromatic lemons and delicate olives that grew nearby.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Fast forward two millennia.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Both winegrowing areas were badly hit by events in the first half of the 20th century, but Valpolicella launched a comeback. In the 1950s some producers began to introduce a dry version of Recioto called Amarone followed by a ripasso version of Valpolicella. They developed international export markets in the US, at a time when the checkered-table Italian restaurant craze was taking off. And in 1968 the Valpolicalla production area was enlarged, drastically increasing production while significantly lowering overall quality. Valpolicella (like Chianti and Bardolino) developed a reputation for being cheap commercial plonk, and much of it was. But a real focus on quality has taken place over the past decades. Today the base level of Valpolicella is higher than it ever was and Amarone has finally received the recognition it deserves as one of Italy&rsquo;s greatest wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Now it&rsquo;s Bardolino&rsquo;s turn to make a comeback &mdash; or maybe more of a makeover. And the timing might be just right.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The game plan, I learned on a recent trip to the area, has several basic components and play number one could be coded Think Pink.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Bardolino area has traditionally made a paler version of the red Corvina-based wine called &ldquo;Chiaretto&rdquo; (&ldquo;Little Clear One&rdquo;), but it was still fairly dark, resembling more a transparent red wine than a ros&eacute;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;Chiaretto is the New Wave of Bardolino,&rdquo; proclaimed Angelo Peretti, architect of the makeover strategy, and the first step was getting producers to lighten the hue of the wine to something along the lines of a Provence ros&eacute;. Most did, and the &ldquo;Ros&eacute; Revolution&rdquo; took place with the 2014 vintage.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Another important step was creating a separate sub-appellation for Chiaretto, stipulating tighter regulations and thus a higher level of quality and consistency. It also involves growers declaring in advance which vineyards they plan to use for Chiaretto and which for Bardolino. &ldquo;In the past,&rdquo; said Peretti, &ldquo;winemakers used the same vineyards and grapes for both wines. This is a mistake. Vines for Chiaretto should be pruned longer, which gives a greater volume of grapes with higher acidity. For ros&eacute; it&rsquo;s acidity you really need, not ripeness. You can make good Chiaretto from grapes grown in the flat southern part of the Bardolino area and in cooler areas with less favorable exposition. These are the same areas that typically made the most mediocre Bardolino. We want to make more Chiaretto by making less Bardolino&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Which brings us to play number two.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The new plan seeks to revise the production ratios of Bardolino and Chiaretto and introduce an entirely new category of Bardolino, all of which is based on a close look and the inherent capabilities of the winegrowing area.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Historically, Bardolino produces about 26 million bottles per year. Until not too long ago, basic Bardolino accounted for almost all of this. In 1968 only 4 million bottles of Chiaretto were produced. Today, with the big boom in ros&eacute;, Chiaretto is up to about 10-12 million while Bardolino has slipped to 14-16 million. The goal is to capitalize on the ros&eacute; craze, increasing Chiaretto production to 15-19 million bottles, while reducing Bardolino to about 6-7 million, about half of which would fall into an entirely new category of super Bardolino.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Bardolino area has been divided into three historical subzones: La Rocca (corresponding to the classic Bardolino area), Montebaldo and Sommacampagna.<br /><br /> While the new regulations for Bardolino and Chiaretto already reduce the maximum yield of grapes per hectare from 13 tons per hectare to 12, the maximum yield for the new sub-zone category is even lower, 10 tons per hectare, in order to produce a more complex terroir-driven wine that is capable of improving over 5-8 years or more. The initial target of &lsquo;superior&rsquo; Bardolino from the new subzones will be about 2-3 million bottles.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> All of this makes a lot of sense. Chiaretto is a perfectly pleasant ros&eacute; &mdash; fresh fruit, crisp acidity, with its own unique character from the Corvina grape. There doesn&rsquo;t appear to be tremendous diversity within the category, but one could say the same thing about ros&eacute; in general. Given the current popularity of pink, it shouldn&rsquo;t be too hard to sell 20 million bottles of ros&eacute; and it might even bring a whole new generation to Bardolino.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> There is a market for simple, drinkable, relatively inexpensive wines like basic Bardolino, but there is also plenty of competition in that category, so it is wise to lower the amount produced as much as possible. And the basic Bardolino will only get better with the lower yield.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The big questions have to do with the new subzones.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Will the wines from these new subzones be perceptibly better than the regular ones? The lower yields are bound to make them beefier (as well as a bit more expensive) but will it give them more character, complexity and age-worthiness? What&rsquo;s more, will there be a perceptible difference between the wines of one subzone and another?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;These are geographical boundaries, not terroir ones,&rdquo; says Peretti.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> That&rsquo;s fine. But unless there is some distinguishable common thread that distinguishes the wines of one subzone from another, and Bardolino <em>cru</em> from the regular Bardolino, the additional names might add an additional layer of confusion and complication that could work to its disadvantage.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Bardolino clearly has the potential to regain its past glory and even exceed it. While I was in the area I had an opportunity to taste Bardolinos from 1968 and 1959 which, while not made with the intention of ageing and obviously a bit past their prime, were still well-knit and totally drinkable. I also came across a few extraordinary wines from recent vintages that seemed to express their specific place of origin and varietal character and could stand tall next to a great Barolo or Burgundy.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It may take a while for producers to get their footing, explore their particular terroir and figure out how to best express it in the wine. But it will fun to follow and taste as they do so.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The new appellation guidelines are currently awaiting approval from the Italian Minister of Agriculture. If all goes well, the new plan will go into effect for the 2019 vintage and Bardolinos bearing the subzone designations should begin arriving in the US in 2020. In the meantime, think pink and have some Chiaretto.</p> Thu, 08 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500 article7088 It’s time to consider your holiday bubbles. http://www.snooth.com/articles/it-ys-time-to-consider-your-holiday-bubbles/?viewall=1 John Downes <p>I was in Tuscany three years ago on a Master of Wine trip and after three solid days of tasting red wine our faces lit up as we were served Franciacorta on arrival at a late afternoon winery. It was delicious, refreshing and complex. As one M.W. noted, &ldquo;another sparkling wine to mix up with Champagne when you&rsquo;re under pressure in the M.W. tasting exam!&rdquo; Many a true word spoken in jest!<br /> There&rsquo;s a buzz about the growth of Franciacorta sales, &ldquo;up by 27% in 2013, up a further 5% in 2015 and still rising&rdquo; (in the UK), but I&rsquo;m always dubious about statistics as you can read into them what you want. Franciacorta&rsquo;s production for example is relatively small; Champagne produces about 300 million bottles a year, Franciacorta about 17 million. But, that said, this Italian beauty is a cracking alternative to the King of Sparklers and often $15 cheaper &hellip;. the crisp, well defined, citrus, almond edged flavours with yeasty overtones went down a treat with my friends in the wine bar.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Global sales are growing; Japan continues to be a principal overseas market with about 22% of export sales, so too Switzerland and the USA which account for approximately 14% of the total (2015).&nbsp; Consorzio Franciacorta, the region&rsquo;s governing body, confirm that there had been an increased demand for Sat&egrave;n (Blanc de Blancs) and Dosaggio Zero (zero dosage) categories of Franciacorta, with total sales up 17.5% and 28.8% respectively.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Franciacorta comes from the Lombardia region of northern Italy towards the Swiss-Austrian border, from vineyards to the south of Lake Iseo in Brescia province. For those snoothers who visit the Italian Lakes, Lake Garda is not a million miles away. Franciacorta gained D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) in 1967 and now boasts about 120 producers, the largest 20 of which make about 80% of the region&rsquo;s production.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The best vineyards are on limestone based soils at an altitude of about 300 metres above sea level where our ol&rsquo; mate Chardonnay is a major player. Other grapes that can be used for Franciacorta include Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir to you and me) and Pinot Blanc. I seem to remember that the wine we had in the wine bar was Berlucci&rsquo;s Brut 2008 which was made from all three varieties, (Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc accounting for 90% with the remaining 10% being Pinot Nero). Being a &lsquo;vintage&rsquo; means that the grapes for Berlucci&rsquo;s Brut were all from the 2008 harvest.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I was in Tuscany three years ago on a Master of Wine trip and after three solid days of tasting red wine our faces lit up as we were served Franciacorta on arrival at a late afternoon winery. It was delicious, refreshing and complex. As one M.W. noted, &ldquo;another sparkling wine to mix up with Champagne when you&rsquo;re under pressure in the M.W. tasting exam!&rdquo; Many a true word spoken in jest!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Franciacorta&rsquo;s made in the same way as Champagne with the second fermentation in the bottle giving a little more alcohol and a little more carbon dioxide &ndash; the fizz. In a world of increasing alcohol levels, it&rsquo;s good to see that most Franciacorta weighs in at just 12.5% by volume.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> After the second fermentation the exhausted yeast leaves a very fine sediment (the lees) in contact with the sparkling wine. The period of time the &lsquo;lees&rsquo; are left in contact with the wine in the &lsquo;second fermentation&rsquo; in the bottle is an indication of the wine&rsquo;s quality; this is the source of the attractive fresh bread, nutty and yeasty aromas you get on good sparklers. The Franciacorta winemakers are proud that 14 million bottles of Franciacorta stay on the lees for 18 months, &ldquo;that&rsquo;s 3 million more than Champagne&rdquo;, they smile. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> So, next time you&rsquo;re looking for something different on the bubble shelf look for Europe, Italy, northern Italy, Lombardia and&hellip;..Franciacorta!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Read more about Franciacorta on Snooth:</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/articles/franciacorta-is-the-next-champagne/">Franciacorta is the Next Champagne</a></p> Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0400 article7084 Cognac is the versatile spirit you should be drinking. http://www.snooth.com/articles/cognac-is-the-versatile-spirit-you-should-be-drinking/?viewall=1 Gabe Sasso <p>Have you added Cognac to your regular spirits rotation?&nbsp; If you&rsquo;ve hesitated because you think it&rsquo;s too fancy or stodgy, let me stop you right there. Cognac starts out as grapes, most often Ugni Blanc that are distilled twice. It&rsquo;s a brandy that originates in the town of Cognac in France and it&rsquo;s produced using some of the oldest and strictest quality control protocols in the world. The history of Cognac goes back hundreds of years as do most of the rules. Much of the equipment utilized today is similar to what was used in the 16th Century.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /> There are six growing areas within Cognac and all of the fruit has to come from some combination of them. At a minimum to be considered Cognac the distillate has to be aged in oak for 2 years. After aging in barrel blends are assembled to produce different expressions of Cognac based on each house&rsquo;s style. There are three aging designations. Unlike say a tawny port whose age statement reflects the average age of what&rsquo;s in the bottle, with Cognac it reflects the minimum age of every drop in the bottle. Because Cognac production begins with grape growing, vineyard sites, soil type, weather and more influence the end product. This makes the role of the master blender crucial as he monitors many barrels of aging Cognac carefully to choose them for use at right time and in the right designation to maintain both quality and that given Cognac house&rsquo;s style.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>V.S.</strong> Must have been aged in oak for a minimum of two years. This designation accounts for half of the Cognac sold in the world.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>V.S.O.P.</strong> The youngest Cognac in these blends has to have spent 4 years in oak.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>X.O.</strong> Must be aged in oak for at least 10 years. This tier makes up a mere 10% of Cognac in the world but is often the most talked about and contemplated.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Like whiskey, Cognac has a myriad of potential uses. Both classic cocktails and new creations can benefit from the use of Cognac as a signature ingredient. Depending on the drink you&rsquo;re looking to craft you can choose a designation that suits the intended flavor profile. Like the other great spirits of the world, Cognac is also enjoyable sipped on its own. Tulip glasses which allow the aromas in Cognac to be controlled are the recommended vessels to sip from. If you&rsquo;re making cocktails, default to the correct glass for the drink in question. Most importantly Cognac is delicious and fun. Grab a bottle in your price range that sounds appealing and taste it a few different ways. Better yet plan a party with a handful of friends where you pool your resources and grab three to five bottles to taste side by side. Tasting different expressions of a spirit side by side is the absolute best way to learn what you like.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Some favorites:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Courvoisier V.S. Cognac ($25)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This is one of the most recognizable and readily accessible Cognacs on store shelves. Don&rsquo;t let its wide availability and friendly price fool you, this is an appealing expression and a workhorse Cognac, whether you want to sip it neat or mix it into a cocktail. The complex nose is filled with fresh and dried fruit aromas and bits of spice. Apricot, peach and hints of mango are evident through the palate. The finish shows off continued spice and hints of toasty oak.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>A.E. Dor Cognac V.S.O.P. ($50)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Evocative fruit aromas are accented by hints of dust. Flavors of dried mango, brewed tea and a touch of citrus are all in play. The long mellifluous finish shows off depth and a hint of astringency. The complexity and elegance are what stand out most about this Cognac.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Hine Rare V.S.O.P. ($65)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Citrus, Anjou pear, and apple aromas nearly leap from the nose. Hints of pink grapefruit, mesquite honey and toasted pecan drive the layered palate. The finish is long, profound and delicate with layer after layer revealing itself as you contemplate this Cognac&rsquo;s charms.&nbsp; This V.S.O.P. is simply a knockout. There&rsquo;s a level of nuance and sophistication that belies the modest price point. Hine Rare V.S.O.P is a truly beautiful and exceptional sipper.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cognac Frapin Chateau de Fontpinot X.O. ($140)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This X.O. was produced from grapes sourced in a single vineyard.&nbsp; White flower and orange zest aromas lead the nose.&nbsp; References to dusty baker&rsquo;s chocolate, stone fruit and spice line the dense palate. The firm finish has length and depth to spare. Spice notes and linger fruit flavors resonate. There&rsquo;s an impression of acidity that starts from the first whiff and carries through the last sip. It provides a freshness and vigor that makes it quite difficult to stop sipping this offering one you begin.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>L&rsquo;Aigle de Delamain X.O. ($200)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> There&rsquo;s a restraint to the aromatics here that belies the depth and complexity of the overall profile.&nbsp; Bits of hazelnut and nectarine are the most apparent of those subtle aromas. The firm palate is loaded with dried stone fruit, dusty baker&rsquo;s chocolate, white pepper and a wisp of citrus. The finish is long, dense and impressive with all of the flavors reverberating. This isn&rsquo;t a Cognac to be taken lightly; savor it in good company over a long evening.</p> Tue, 30 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0400 article7081 We’re routing for Grüner Veltliner. http://www.snooth.com/articles/we-yre-routing-for-gry-ner-veltliner/?viewall=1 John Downes <p>Austria is becoming well-known for Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner. This crisp white not only tastes good - the grape variety is on the label which makes life far easier as we wander down the wine aisle. That we can pronounce &lsquo;Gr&uuml;-ner Velt-liner&rsquo; also helps the Austrian cause!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> At a recent corporate event I included Loimer&rsquo;s Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner 2016 to show the potential of this Austrian grape variety. The mouth-filling citrus peach fruit balanced with a spicy acidity went down really well. For the record, Weingut (winery) Loimer&rsquo;s Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner comes from the prestigious Kamptal region about an hour&rsquo;s drive north-west of Vienna.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Kamptal region boasts Langenlois, Austria&rsquo;s largest wine producing town and takes its name from the River Kamp that flows serenely through the attractive vineyard valleys. Kamptal gained its D.A.C. (&ldquo;Districtus Austriae Controllatus&rdquo;), Austria&rsquo;s status for special region-typical Quality Wines, for Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner in 2008. Interestingly, Kamptal Riesling received its D.A.C. crown in the same year. <br /> At about 300 metres above sea level, the Kamp Valley is blessed with cool nights and warm days with long, sunny autumns, producing grapes with full ripeness and fine flavours. The Kamp flows into the mighty River Danube where the loess and loam soil terraces suit Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner &lsquo;down to the ground&rsquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> For all you red wine fans out there, these soils also hit the spot for a couple of Austrian reds, Zweigelt, (a crossing of two Austrian red grapes, St. Laurent and Blaufrankisch) and the Burgundian classic Pinot Noir. Kamptal Pinot Noir isn&rsquo;t cheap but it&rsquo;s well worth a try; one of the best wines I tasted on a visit to the region a couple of years ago was a Pinot Noir made by Rudi Rabl of the Rabl winery in Langenlois.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The other principal white grape of Kamptal is our old friend Riesling. This Kamptal classic comes in two distinct styles; a crisp, steely glassful or a fuller style which helpfully has the word &lsquo;Reserve&rsquo; on the front label. I say helpful, for as with much in the Wine Trade it&rsquo;s only helpful if you know what it means! Most consumers haven&rsquo;t a clue what it means but typically the Wine Trade doesn&rsquo;t seem to bother too much - I still don&rsquo;t understand why. Surely education will bring more people into wine?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Weingut Brundlmayer Steinmassel Kamptal Riesling 2015 was another star of my event. The tongue-twisting name makes it a mouthful in more ways than one but of course, you can always practice your pronunciation in front of the mirror before your guests arrive!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Kamptal region is popular with tourists so if you find yourself in the attractive wine town of Langenlois, don&rsquo;t forget to walk through the vineyards high above its white walls and cobbled square where the brilliant &lsquo;wine route&rsquo; is marked by beautiful vineyard vistas, entertaining information panels and fantastic interactive wine sculptures. There are also picnic spots where you can meet&nbsp; friends and enjoy your favourite Kamptal wine, be it Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner, Riesling, Zweigelt or Pinot Noir.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Read more recent Austria coverage on Snooth:</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/articles/the-next-go-to-red-is-austria-ys-zweigelt-7066/">The Next Go-To Red is Austria&rsquo;s Zweigelt</a></p> Fri, 26 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0400 article7080