Snooth - Articles Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Wed, 13 Dec 2017 08:28:36 -0500 Wed, 13 Dec 2017 08:28:36 -0500 Snooth Experiments is Sweet Bordeaux Jeff Kralik <p>A few months ago, I was minding my own business, mostly, when I received a phone call from my good friends here at Snooth, wondering if I would be interested in heading to Bordeaux for a few days and write a story about my experiences. The trip would focus solely on sweet wines from the region, or what wine types frequently refer to as &ldquo;dessert wines.&quot; Therein was the challenge, however, as the Sweet Bordeaux Association, a subset of the <em>CIVB (Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux</em> or Bordeaux Wine Council) is striving to change the perception that Sweet Bordeaux is strictly a wine to have at the end of a meal. Thus, the theme of the entire trip was to underscore the idea that the sweet wines from Bordeaux should be considered as a viable alternative for the aperitif, the appetizers, even the main course.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I was skeptical, to put it mildly.<br /> Most of my adult life, there were precisely three occasions to serve a sweet wine from Southwest France: the aforementioned dessert, with foie gras, and with blue cheese (preferably Stilton or Roquefort). Seeing that I am not a huge fan of blue cheese and foie gras does not constitute even a minuscule proportion of my quotidian diet, I was not entirely sure how the next several days would pan out.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Bordeaux, as a region, is huge&mdash;it has roughly the same number of acres under vine as the entire state of California&mdash;and in an average year, the region produces approximately 700 million bottles of wine, about 90% of it red. Sweet Bordeaux represents a very small percentage of the entire Bordeaux production&mdash;a little less than 2% of what the region churns out every year. Still, that equates to roughly 10 million bottles from over 500 producers<br /><br /> <br /><br /> For many, the terms &ldquo;Sweet Bordeaux&rdquo; and &ldquo;Sauternes&rdquo; are synonymous, but Sauternes, which can be produced in five different communes (Barsac, Bommes, Fargues, Preignac, and Sauternes), is just one of ten different appellations that may produce sweet wines in Bordeaux (other prominent AOCs include Barsac [wines can be labelled either as &ldquo;Barsac&rdquo; or &ldquo;Sauternes&rdquo;], Cadillac, Loupiac, and Sainte-Croix-du-Mont). While the ten appellations vary in soil types and climate, there are a few commonalities across the growing areas.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> First, the sweet wines from Bordeaux are a blend of mostly S&eacute;millon and smaller percentages (usually 25% or less) of Sauvignon Blanc and, occasionally, Muscadelle. Second, the sweetness of the wines comes from the grapes being affected by botrytis cinera (also known as &ldquo;noble rot&rdquo;), a fungus that gradually raisinates the berries by drawing out the water, which concentrates the sugars, acidity, and flavors.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Third, all ten appellations in Bordeaux that produce sweet wines border either the Garonne River, its tributary the Ciron, or both. The Ciron River is a relatively short, but extremely cold river that empties into the larger Garonne River near the town of Barsac, the virtual epicenter of the ten contiguous appellations. It is not until autumn however, after the Garonne has spent the summer heating its waters, that the clash of these two rivers of drastically different temperatures creates a morning mist that envelops both valleys.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This mist, along with the sweet plump berries on the vines, provides the perfect combination for the development of noble rot. That rot is a bit finicky, however, as it does not attack all of the grapes in a bunch at the same time, and certain bunches might not get affected at all in spite of near perfect conditions. Thus, the fourth common aspect: harvesting grapes to make a sweet wine in Bordeaux is expensive. It often takes at least three passes, often days apart, to harvest a vineyard, resulting in costs that are more than three times the rate for standard red wine harvesting in the region.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Compounding the calculus is the desiccation of the grapes. While a &ldquo;normal&rdquo; vine might yield enough grapes to produce 2-3 bottles of dry wine, producers of sweet Bordeaux wines can typically expect that a single vine might bear enough fruit to make a <em>single <strong>glass</strong></em>.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Those that have tasted the sweet, unctuous wines of Bordeaux can surely attest that the region produces some of the best wines of their type in the world, but pairing them with parts of the meal that do not rhyme with &ldquo;this shirt&rdquo; might still be a tough sell.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> As I said: I was skeptical.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The first pairing was with Japanese food, which I tried at Ch&acirc;teau du Cros in Loupiac. While the wines worked, for the most part, I think that Chinese or Korean cuisine would be a much better pairing which feature spicier, saltier, and more fried dishes.The pairings with Japanese food were fine, but I remained somewhat skeptical.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> That evening, I had dinner at Ch&acirc;teau Guiraud in Sauternes. The meal was impeccably prepared and the wines were sublime on their own. When they were paired together? Whoa. They worked together magnificently. After I realized that what I was eating and what I was drinking were a near perfect match, my skepticism melted away and I pondered the reasons why.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Then it hit me: salt.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Sure, there are other factors at play, but as long as there is plenty of salt in the dish, it will likely pair well with Sweet Bordeaux wines. The rest of the meals over the course of the week followed suit: as long as there was a perceptible saltiness to the food, I was confident that Sweet Bordeaux would be a viable if not preferred pairing. The roasted rabbit at Ch&acirc;teau Guiraud? Perfect. The mushroom and bacon soup (which might just be the best soup I have ever had) at Ch&acirc;teau de Fargues? Divine. Even Burgundian escargots back at the hotel? Fantastic. In just three short days, I went from full-blown skeptic to converted disciple. So much so, that my first meal at home I did a comparison pairing: my chicken with a mushroom/cr&egrave;me fra&icirc;che sauce with a Sauternes and one of my go-to Chardonnays. The Sweet Bordeaux more than held its own&mdash;it won the night.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Since that first meal back home, I find myself regularly pulling out a Sweet Bordeaux from the cellar to serve with dinner, experimenting with friends and family alike. Sure, there are likely still skeptics out there, but I contend that once they try a sweet wine outside of that last course of the evening, they will become a convert as well.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Here are some of my favorite wines I tasted during the week:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2014 Ch&acirc;teau la Rame R&eacute;serve du Ch&acirc;teau, Sainte-Croix-du-Mont</strong></a>: Only made in best years, deciding whether to make it sometime after pressing and before bottling. Spends 18-24 months in oak. Dark, rich and unctuous. Whoa. This is rich with honey, coffee, and apricot.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2009 Ch&acirc;teau du Cros, Loupiac</strong></a>: One of the best years for Botrytis in recent memory&mdash;had to pick very quickly. Good acidity, but there is also a roundness, a fatness that balances well.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2008 Ch&acirc;teau Manos Cuv&eacute;e Traditionelle, Cadillac</strong></a>: A mineral-driven wine, with touches of smoke around the edges. Coats the palate with savory notes and mocha.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2005 Ch&acirc;teau Giscours, Sauternes</strong></a>: Dark, rich, and unctuous, loaded with caramel and citrus. This is the wine that &ldquo;flipped the switch&rdquo; for me on Sweet Bordeaux.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2015 Bastor-Lamontagne, Sauternes</strong></a>: Just a baby with noticeable oak and plenty of pineapple upside down cake. Rich and unctuous but loads of acidity.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2014 Ch&acirc;teau de Fargues, Sauternes</strong></a>: From the original owner of Ch&acirc;teau d&rsquo;Yquem, rich golden honey in the glass. On the palate. Whoa. Impeccable with great fruit and balance. Incredible. Paired with oysters two ways.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Ch&acirc;teau Laville, Sauternes</strong></a>: Candied apricot and peach dance on the nose and the palate. Power all the way through. One of the more concentrated of the week.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2005 Ch&acirc;teau Sigalas Ribaud, Sauternes</strong></a>: From a particularly warm year. Black tea, creme br&ucirc;l&eacute;e on the nose. On the palate wonderfully nutty with the slightly burned element of the creme br&ucirc;l&eacute;e.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2009 Ch&acirc;teau de Rayne Vigneau, Sauternes</strong></a>: More candied peach and apricot here. Big flavors and plenty of heft. Sweet and unctuous.</p> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article7011 The 12 Days of Bourgogne Wine Mark Angelillo <p>It&rsquo;s high wine season &ndash; the most wonderful time of the year. And the most wonderful time of the year requires only the most wonderful wines. Oftentimes you need more than just one bottle to understand the full scope of a region, especially when it comes to a place as venerable and storied as Bourgogne -- or as you may know it, Burgundy. This region has helped define America&rsquo;s taste for fine Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. While eighty percent of grapes grown in Bourgogne are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, there&rsquo;s an array of fabulous options on the fringes that are sure to wow your holiday guests. This is precisely why we&rsquo;ve decided to celebrate The 12 Days of Bourgogne on Snooth. The twelve wines we&rsquo;ve selected draw from a number of styles and grapes. What&rsquo;s more, they fall squarely in the value category, ranging from sixteen to thirty-five dollars. This is far below what many people will spend on a holiday bottle of lesser quality. Each one of the twelve wines simply must be paired with a fabulous holiday dish. Note that we have listed the bottles using the following formula: Domaine/winery name, name of wine (if applicable), appellation, and vintage. Please read on and join us as we celebrate the 12 Days of Bourgogne!<br /> </p> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article7008 South African Chenin is the Ideal Winter White Mark Angelillo <p>I tasted through a selection of Chenin Blanc for <a href=""><strong>#CheninBlancDay</strong></a> last June. Right off the bat I knew we had to bring these wines to the Snooth audience.&nbsp; I was hoping to do it in the winter months for one very good reason: South African Chenin Blanc retains startlingly robust fruits (more than enough to stand up to warming winter dishes), while maintaining a strong undercurrent of acidity. Alcohol levels are kept in check which isn&rsquo;t often true when drinking fulsome white wines. These are ideal winter white wines &ndash; especially when serving to a crowd. There&rsquo;s value here for all to enjoy. This is a difficult combination to find.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Chenin Blanc is truly recognized as a signature variety in South Africa. There are troves of old vines located across several of the country&rsquo;s regions, all with their own unique bent. <a href=""><strong>Click here to get your own set of six in time for the December holidays</strong></a>. Read on for my notes on the wines in this special set of winter whites.<br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Thelema Mountain Vineyard Sutherland Sauvignon Blanc Elgin 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> A bit of herbal lime zest and fresh acidity, mineral notes and sea breeze driven aromas. This is dry and juicy on the palate with green apple and pear, a bit of fresh grapefruit, fresh grass and a bright melon finish with tart citrus and dried herbal notes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay Robertson 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Juicy, honeyed apple and floral peach aromas. Pleasantly spiced with just a touch of honey on the palate with fresh acidity, citrus fruits of grapefruit and stone fruit notes of peach, tart green notes of lime zest and a pleasant herbal finish that&rsquo;s earthy and lengthy and has a touch of cut flowers that sustains past the fruit.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Glenelly Glass Collection Unoaked Chardonnay Stellenbosch 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Fresh and lively green apple and melon aromas with a touch of spice. tart and fresh acidity, with tart melon, green apple, pear and lemon notes. A firm, controlled wine with good balance.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>The Wolftrap Western Cape 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Lovely aromatic notes of floral white peach and melon. This is creamy on the palate with a nice heft, nice acidity and flavors of lime zest, a bit of peach, fresh melon and a tart citrus zest and spiced toast note towards the mid palate with a slow long finish that&rsquo;s wooden and earthy.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Badenhorst Family Wines Secateurs Chenin Blanc Swartland 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Steely lemon and mineral driven aromas. Well balanced, fresh fruit notes of lemon, green apple, peach and dried apricot, a touch herbal and a bit juicy. This brings good acidity, steely minerality and a bit of a citrus pith note towards the finish that adds another dimension to the wine before it settles into an earthy, toasted and wooded note.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Raats Original Unwooded Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Mineral-driven sea breeze, lime leaf and melon notes on the nose. Pleasant, warm notes of citrus, white blossom and peach, green apple and herbal spice. a bit of dried fruit, good medium-plus acidity and a solid, bold and assertive palate that is herbal and steely towards the finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here to get your set of six now! Offer ends on December 31st, 2017.</strong></a></p> Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article7007 There’s something new in French Sauvignon Blanc… John Downes <p>With Christmas lunch now on the radar, Snoothers who enjoy cooking are already thinking about a wine match with the inevitable smoked salmon starter. For French Sauvignon Blanc lovers Sancerre is a popular choice but how about ringing the changes this year by pulling a Sancerre lookalike off the shelf. Cheverny and Touraine Sauvignon Blanc may not have the ooouumphh of a top Sancerre but they&rsquo;ll definitely get the table buzzing and save a few dollars along the way.<br /> Cheverny is little known but, like Touraine Sauvignon Blanc hails from the Touraine region of France&rsquo;s Loire Valley. Both whites give that crisp, zippy citrus kick to lift the smoked salmon flavours even higher. Just in case you&rsquo;re wondering, Sancerre comes from the well-named Central Vineyards region of the Loire Valley to the east of Touraine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Cheverny vineyards, located to the east of the city of Tours and south of the town of Blois, lie on soils that vary from sand and clay to gravel and limestone and although Cheverny also produces red wines, the chilly northerly climate lends itself to whites with Sauvignon Blanc being the main player. The region gained its Appellation d&rsquo;Origin Controllee back in 1993, the A.O.C. status specifying that Sauvignon Blanc has to make up between 60 and 85 per cent of the blend, the balance being either Chardonnay, Arbois or Chenin Blanc.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> By the way, Cheverny&rsquo;s red and rose wines are produced from Pinot Noir and Gamay blended with a minimum of 15% Cabernet Franc or Malbec (known as Cot in the Loire).<br /><br /> <br /><br /> For my anorak followers, Cheverny covers 24 communes and approximately 532 hectares located between the Loire and Cher rivers. The appellation covers the communes of Cand&eacute;-sur-Beuvron, Cellettes, Cheverny, Chitenay, Cormeray, Cour-Cheverny, Feings, Foug&egrave;res-sur-Bi&egrave;vre, Fresnes, Huisseau-sur-Cosson, Maslives, Mont-pr&egrave;s-Chambord, Monthou-sur-Bi&egrave;vre, Les Montils, Montlivault, Muides-sur-Loire, Ouchamps, Saint-Claude-de-Diray, Saint-Dy&eacute;-sur-Loire, Saint-Laurent-Nouan, Sambin, Seur, Tour-en-Sologne and Vineuil. Hopefully not a question in your local pub quiz this week!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Globe-trotting <em>Snoothers</em> who wander down the Loire River from time to time and visit the amazing chateaux of Chenonceaux, Chambord and Cheverny, will have driven through the neighbouring Cheverny vineyards and maybe without realising enjoyed the wines en route. That said, every Loire traveller enjoys a glass or two of Touraine Sauvignon Blanc as it&rsquo;s a regular on restaurant, hotel and wine bar lists.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> With the festive season fast approaching perhaps the wines will bring back some happy memories or, better still, inspire a Loire Valley visit in 2018.</p> Fri, 01 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article7006 Bordeaux for Next Gen Wine Drinkers Snooth Editorial <p>Bordeaux is an established paragon of quality, but there&rsquo;s more to it than producing gorgeous wines. The region has defined trends. It evolves to accommodate shifting tastes while remaining true to its core values. Suffice it to say, with a unique combination of history, esteemed quality, and value, Bordeaux is uniquely positioned to capture next generation wine drinkers.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Last month&#39;s <a href=""><strong>Back to Bordeaux</strong></a> trade and consumer tasting in Brooklyn, New York, was a demonstration of the region&#39;s commitment to evolution. A master class, led by Mary Gorman McAdams, MW, and featuring Sabra Lewis (Sommelier Terroir Tribeca) and Nicola Allison (of Graves&#39; Ch&acirc;teau du Seuil), examined the role of vintage and market perception. There are about 6,800 growers in Bordeaux offering a variety of wines in different styles and price points. In the past, wine audiences have singularly focused on premium level selections from specific vintage years. These days, wine drinkers are digging deeper. Value and story are of the utmost importance. The value wines of Bordeaux are plentiful and in demand. The many family-owned wineries across Bordeaux have lots of stories to tell about the wines, too.<br /> It&rsquo;s time to embrace value Bordeaux. The wines can acknowledge the strengths of all vintages, be kind to your pocketbook, and tell a good story to boot.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Here are a few of our favorite values from St. Emilion:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Grand Moulin Macquin Montagne Saint-Emilion 2014</strong></a> ($13)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Pleasant ripe and expressive cherry notes on the nose, fresh cranberry and a floral note coming through. Smooth, elegant on the palate with a bit of austere spice and a pleasant, oak note, plenty of earth and a crisp earthiness, good acidity and ripe cherry and raspberry fruit. Excellent balance and approachability.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau Haut-Piquat Lussac Saint-Emilion 2014</strong></a> ($15)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Dusty and dry on the nose with a light mushroom note, earthy red fruit notes of raspberry and cherry and a hint of candied berry. Restrained, delicate and textured on entry with balanced acidity, dry earth and smoky tannins adding a chewiness to the finish with notes of dark chocolate and espresso.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau Vrai Canon Bouche Canon Fronsac 2014</strong></a> ($24)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> A touch spicy on the nose with notes of black pepper, black currant and lively heat. This is richly fruited and smoky on the palate with heady notes of dark blackberry and black currant, sticky resinous tannins throughout, good mineral notes of earth and dark plum with the tartness of young fruit, a touch of dark chocolate and a creamy finish.</p> Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article7005 The One and Only Wine You Need This Thanksgiving Snooth Editorial <p>According to a YouGov poll, forty-one percent of Americans enjoy wine with Thanksgiving dinner. It&#39;s no wonder we spend so much time planning our drink menus. Turkey Day wines have been discussed on Snooth at length over the past ten years. Tastes have evolved to include more than just the mainstays. Traditions have been shattered, and most meals are a patchwork of wines and flavors from beginning to end. This leaves ample opportunity to serve multiple selections that suit a variety of palates. In fact, one bottle of wine per guest is a good rule of thumb. But what if you had to choose just one wine to serve with your Thanksgiving meal? There would be no sparkling wine for a toast to gratitude with your dear friends. You couldn&#39;t follow up with a few whites and a couple of reds. And there would be no Port to send your uncle to sleep. Yes, you would serve a single wine throughout the entire meal. It&#39;s a daunting task, but the web&#39;s best wine writers are up for the challenge. Read on to learn about their one and only Thanksgiving wines<br /> <strong>Gundlach Bundschu Gewurtztraminer</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Choosing one Thanksgiving wine feels like choosing just one side for the turkey. The wide range of flavors lends itself to a variety of wine. To compliment the meal, I often lean towards blends, specifically Rh&ocirc;ne. Sometimes Oregon wines, Pinot Noir, Gris, or Blanc. However this year, I am going for a sentimental favorite. This year, I would choose Gundlach Bundschu Gewurtztraminer. Not just for it&#39;s smart and playful marketing or it&#39;s ability to make your guests swoon, but because this year it is so important to continue supporting wineries in Napa and Sonoma. Gun Bun does their Gewurtz in a dry style, with vibrant fruit and acidity. While I have not tasted this vintage, it often has tropical and stone fruits, citrus and floral mid-palate, finishing with rich, nutty spice. It is a wine that can be enjoyed as an aperitif or with turkey and stuffing. As reports of damage at Rhinefarm circulated, my heart sank. It is there that I became enamored with wine. It is there that I began writing. The Bundschu family has navigated and survived the great quake, prohibition, and now the fires of 2017. So this year, I will toast them with gratitude for their spirit, ingenuity, and resilience, thankful for Rhinefarm and all it represents.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Alissa Leenher</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>SAHMelier</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Kalin Cellars Cuv&eacute;e DD Pinot Noir</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> We were the only wine writers in a group of foodies at Emeril Lagasse&#39;s Delmonico in New Orleans when assistant sommelier John Hanvy approached us, conspiratorially, with a bottle of Pinot Noir. it was 2009 and I was a skeptic, as most Pinot Noir I tasted were cherry bombs with a side of dried leaves. This was not. Burgundian, stern, yet soft flavors of dried strawberry, cola and a bit of leather, the Kalin Cellars Cuv&eacute;e DD Sonoma County 1998 was their current release. It took me another 6 months to get on the buying list of this quirky California winery. They don&#39;t have a fancy website, but restaurants and wine lovers know their name. They don&#39;t cater to famous wine writers, but release the vintage when they, alone, think it&#39;s ready. For the last seven years both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have graced our Thanksgiving table. If I had to choose just one of those, it would be the Cuvee DD Pinot Noir. First released in April 2010, the &#39;99 Cuv&eacute;e DD Sonoma is still their current release.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Amy Corron Power</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Another Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Ladera Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2005</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Choosing one single wine for any celebration is mission impossible for me. I always like a variety of the wines at the table, to allow people drink what they want. Nevertheless, let&rsquo;s do this. My strong preference for Thanksgiving is to go with all American wines. And when I thought about this one single wine to chose, the answer was not what I expected, but I will go with it. I&rsquo;m choosing a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. Let&rsquo;s detail further. Let&rsquo;s go to Howell Mountain appellation. How about Ladera Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon? And let&rsquo;s now be absolutely precise. How about 2005 Ladera Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon? 2005 was one of the great vintages in Napa Valley. The wines are ready to drink now (they still will be for another 20 years). Mountain fruit offers the combination of complexity, balanced power and finesse - what else you can ask for? Bring on the turkey. And make it smoked this year. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Anatoli Levine</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Talk-a-Vino</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Sartori di Verona&rsquo;s Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG &ldquo;Corte Br&agrave;&rdquo; 2010</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Since Thanksgiving is a special occasion where family and/or friends come together to enjoy a long meal, I prefer to serve a special wine to savor that might be of interest to different types of wine lovers. And so, I will go with an old school wine that is now taking a new approach: 2010 Sartori di Verona&rsquo;s Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG &ldquo;Corte Br&agrave;&rdquo;. Amarone is often mistakenly thought of as a traditional wine that is too sweet, overripe and heavy for today&rsquo;s taste, since part of the process includes drying the grapes. Well, there are many types of Amarone&hellip; yes, the alcohol content of this wine is 15.5% abv but it is dry, fresh and the alcohol is perfectly balanced. The 2010 &ldquo;Corte Br&agrave;&rdquo; is one of Sartori&#39;s top-shelf wines and a strict selection of grapes that show the new style of this great winemaking area&hellip; fresh black cherry flavors with complex notes of tar and dried sage, that has a good structure with an elegant finish. Amarone producers are starting to use more of their local Corvina variety, a grape recognized as their noblest variety, which adds acidity and bright fruit flavors. Amarone&rsquo;s evolution to a higher quality fine wine has been noted by their elevated status to DOCG, in December of 2009. This wine is a chance for older and younger wine drinkers to come together and enjoy the idea that when traditions are respected, yet open to some progress, the results are ideal for everyone involved.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cathrine Todd</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dame Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Domaine Labruy&egrave;re&rsquo;s Coeur de Terroirs Moulin-&agrave;-Vent 2014</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> My Thanksgiving Day pick hails from the Beaujolais region of France. The Gamay grape is King in Beaujolais, and Domaine Labruy&egrave;re&mdash;one of the oldest wine producers in Moulin-&agrave;-Vent appellation (est. 1850)&mdash;makes delicious wines from the variety. Moulin-&agrave;-Vent is one of ten &lsquo;crus&rsquo; (think of them as villages), and the crus carry the highest quality of wines produced in Beaujolais; with each cru having its own personality. Moulin-&agrave;-Vent is known for producing some of the most powerful, long-lived wines of all crus. Find Domaine Labruy&egrave;re&rsquo;s 2014 Coeur de Terroirs Moulin-&agrave;-Vent. Be sure to swirl this one vigorously, and sniff deeply&mdash;the aromas are simply wonderful. The flavors include pretty red berries, juicy plum, and floral hints suggestive of violets. In the mouth, it shows some richness, and is full yet streamlined&mdash;with ripe fruit notes propped up by a firm spine of acidity. There&rsquo;s good depth and concentration, too. This wine is a pleasure to sip. And like most Beaujolais, the wine&rsquo;s bright personality allows it to pair well with a wide range of foods&mdash;especially traditional Turkey Day fare. You should be able to find it for $25 or less. Here&#39;s wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving. Please let us know how you enjoyed the wine, or whatever selection you were able to find from the region.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Dezel Quillen</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>My Vine Spot</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Hudson-Chatham Winery Chelois, Casscles Vineyards</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that many of the contributors and readers have never had the wine that I would call my one and only. However, as I reflected over the course of the last five years of Thanksgiving celebrations in preparation for this contribution, I could only recall this wine from my celebration two years ago as truly a standout. At the time, I fondly called it &quot;The One&quot; among many wines my friends and I drank over the course of that evening, wines from California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington. The wine we could not stop tasting and talking about was Hudson-Chatham Winery&#39;s Chelois, Casscles Vineyards, from the Hudson River Region of upstate New York. For those who are not familiar with Chelois, it is an Albert Seibel hybrid, Seibel 10878, which is a cross of Seibel 5163 and 5593. Its parentage is about 50% Vitis vinifera, including grape varieties such as Aramon, Alicante Bouschet, Black Hamburg, Dattier, Grenache, and Piquepoul. What makes this wine my one and only is its lively acidity, subtle tannins, and lower alcohol. Characterized by rustic, red berry flavors and a soft, textured mouthfeel, thanks to aging in neutral, French oak barrels, this wine is the perfect accompaniment to rich, traditional, holiday fare, such as turkey, pork, casseroles, and stuffing.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>​Elizabeth Smith</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Traveling Wine Chick</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Foggy Ridge Cider Final Call</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Given the diverse range of foods on the Thanksgiving table &mdash; salty ham, boring and bland turkey, sweet cranberry stuff, vinegar collards, delicious oysters &mdash; selecting just &lsquo;one bottle&rsquo; can be tricky. However, our &lsquo;one and only&rsquo; bottle for Thanksgiving dinner this year is an easy choice &mdash; Foggy Ridge Cider Final Call. This refreshing, bright and delicious cider will be our one and only bottle for Thanksgiving as much for the story as for the quality and versatility. Grown by Diane Flynt, Final Call is the culmination of over two decades cultivating traditional cider apples and setting the standard of American fine ciders. Flynt, who is widely considered an American fine cider pioneer and rockstar, will be returning to the orchard full-time so Final Call is the final cider to bear the name Foggy Ridge Cider. Final Call is a field blend of Harrison, Newtown Pippin and Hewe&rsquo;s Crab apples grown in the Foggy Ridge estate-orchard in the Blue Ridge Mountains; the apples were blended in the orchard and pressed together. The freshness and bright acidity will elevate many foods on the Thanksgiving table; the story of Diane Flynt and her contribution to the cider world will elevate conversations around the Thanksgiving table. For these reasons, Foggy Ridge Final Call is our &lsquo;one and only&rsquo; bottle this Thanksgiving!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Frank Morgan</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Drink What YOU Like</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Channing Daughters Ramato 2014</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> When choosing a single wine for the Thanksgiving table a number of things need to be considered. First and foremost a plethora of traditional dishes exist for this holiday and most everyone adds to those with their personal family or regional traditions. Pairing wine to so many diverse foods requires serious consideration, if you want to get it right. Often the tastes of those dining are even more far afield than the cuisine, so you need a wine that will make everyone happy. The 2014 Ramato from Channing Daughters located on the South Fork of long Island checks all of the boxes. Ramato is made entirely of hand harvested Pinot Grigio sourced at their Estate in Bridgehampton and one additional vineyard located on the North Fork. It was fermented on the skins using native yeasts for 16 days. This gives it a vibrant orange color that shimmers beautifully in the glass. After Fermentation it spent 18 months in older Slovenian and French oak. The fermentation and barrel aging provide texture and body that allows it to standup to more substantial foods. But it retains tremendous freshness and has terrific, racy acid. Stone fruit aromas punctuate the intoxicating nose. Flavors of white peach, apricot, and bits of brewed tea dominate. The finish here is long, lush, and impressive featuring bits of mesquite honey, baked apple and a host of spices. Most importantly the 2014 Ramato is simply delicious. The fact that it shares qualities of both white and red wines makes it a natural partner for the bevy of foods you&rsquo;re likely to have on your Thanksgiving table as well as the myriad of taste buds. As a bonus it&rsquo;s also likely that a fair percentage of your guests don&rsquo;t have much experience with skin fermented whites; often referred to as Orange Wines. So in addition to the other benefits you can introduce your friends to an unfamiliar category.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Gabe Sasso</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Gabe&rsquo;s View</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <b>Bollinger RD Extra Brut 2002</b><br /><br /> <br /><br /> If I could have just one bottle or type of wine at my Thanksgiving and I am glad I can have many types and choices. But if I could only have one type of wine it would be Extra Brut Champagne. And I know this seems like an odd choice--sounds like a New Year&#39;s choice. I do think for me Champagne is versatile and popular thought is that it is only a celebratory wine. I lean heavily on Blanc de Blancs and perhaps could enjoy this everyday. But for Thanksgiving I want to lean on Extra Brut with a composition of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The richness and finesse of the wines partner well with Thanksgiving fare&mdash;the fuller and a bit more body add elegance. For me I always want dry, dry, dry---I more often than not seek Extra Brut. For some paletes are accustomed to a Brut style and the dosage does speak volumes. Regardless of occasion food or no food extra brut is a delight. With food a delight especially for those who want a bit more sweetness to balance their food experience. Here is the specific wine I would pick this Thanksgiving: Bollinger RD Extra Brut 2002 &ndash; 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay&mdash;while I would like this through the entire meal&mdash;the turkey or main course portion is when I would serve this wine. So if you don&rsquo;t want to spend $300 a bottle you can find a bottle of Extra Brut and if you make it a non-vintage an even lower price point. Reach out to your wine merchant for a lower price point Champagne.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>James Melendez</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>James the Wine Guy</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>iOTA Cellars Pinot Noir 2006</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> My one and only bottle for Thanksgiving is iOTA Cellars Pinot Noir.&nbsp; If I can only have one bottle, it better be a magnum! First, it&#39;s a delicious Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Eola-Amity Hills, and after all, American wine should be the first choice for the Thanksgiving table. iOTA Cellars was created and has matured in the hands of our close friends and ex-next door neighbors. A bottle from their first commercial vintage in 2006 was my vinous &quot;Aha&quot; moment. Not that I knew what I was doing, but on opening the bottle, I decided that maybe I wanted to dive deeper into this wine thing after all.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jeff Burrows</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Food Wine Click</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Amarone from Valpolicella</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Thanksgiving, it&#39;s all about time shared with family and friends and of course delicious food and wine. With such variety of dishes on the table how do you choose the best wine to pair? I go with the ever popular &ldquo;drink what you like&rdquo;. I always have a white and a red to enjoy that day and although I&#39;m not always true to a particular white grape I do always enjoy a bottle of Amarone from the Valpolicella wine region of the Veneto in northeastern Italy. I typically hang on to these bottles for special occasions and the holidays are the perfect time to pick one out. Typically a blend of the corvina, rondinella and molinara grapes, I enjoy the complexity and depth of these wines starting with rich aromatics and full body full of dark fruit and raisin-like notes due to the appassimento, or drying process, of the grapes. Definitely a wine that needs decanting. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jennifer Martin IWS</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vino Travels</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Gloria Ferrer Brut Ros&eacute;</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> I&#39;m not a &quot;one wine&quot; guy at Thanksgiving. Much to my wife&#39;s dismay, I like to serve up to six wine variations for a large crowd of people, and pour a slew of things that are fun, unusual, and delightful pairings. But I&#39;ve been asked this question many times, and my answer has evolved over time. Last year I began to emphasize that as much as I love all the world&#39;s wines, for this one, uniquely American holiday, I believe we should pour only American wines for Thanksgiving. And so my answer has two parts, so here goes: 1) Brut Ros&eacute;. 2) From California. My one wine choice is Gloria Ferrer Brut Rose. This wine provides bubbles, and gorgeous red fruit with great acidity, which allows for elegant palate cleansing and the fruit profile I usually want from pinot noir or nebbiolo&nbsp; wines for a savory dinner wine pairing. The flavor palate on the Brut Ros&eacute; is simply delightful and is ideal for this holiday meal: rich strawberry, followed by a blend of raspberry &amp; cherry, with lovely baking yeast, and a glorious mouthfeel with moderately sized bubbles. Have one taste and you&#39;ll realize you could just sit and sip this all day long. But serve with your dinner and find how it elevates food so well! Aligning with the cranberry we love on Thanksgiving, brut ros&eacute; is the perfect foil to your turkey or ham, the stuffing and gravy, the starches and greens. It&#39;s also easy on the wallet: a quick search had seven stores near me selling it between $20-25/bottle, and it&#39;s readily available in retail wine shops across the USA. Sitting on the porch of Gloria Ferrer recently and enjoying this wine while looking across their fields to stunning and disarming views, both gorgeous and devastating from the fall colors, shifting into nearby recent wildfire damage right across the road, on another set of vineyards. This wine can remind you how thankful we should all be.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jim van Bergen</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>JvB UNCORKED</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Hazelfern Cellars Winter Ros&eacute; 2016</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Raised in a family where tradition runs deep, my passion for cooking and entertaining was instilled in me at a very young age. Thanksgiving was, and still is, the holiday I look forward to most of all. Vintage vinyls of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin spin softly in the background while integrated aromas of fall spices, fresh herbs, baked apple pie and mouthwatering roasted turkey fill the air - keeping my childhood memories alive and in motion.&nbsp; If I had to choose just one wine to have with Thanksgiving dinner, I&#39;d choose a dry Ros&eacute; - a style of wine that typically pairs well with just about anything. But not any Ros&eacute; will do for this special occasion feast - <a href=""><strong>Hazelfern Cellars</strong></a> 2016 Winter Ros&eacute; is unmatched and the absolute perfect wine for Thanksgiving. Produced specifically to pair with heartier, cold-weather meals, this 78% Pinot Noir, 19% Chardonnay and 3% Tempranillo Ros&eacute; is barrel-aged for 12 months in used French oak.&nbsp; It&#39;s chock full of black cherry, raspberry and pomegranate fruit; along with, subtle savory herbal characteristics of sage and rosemary and a hint of earth, sea salt and hazelnuts. Vibrant acidity plays a crucial role in making this a phenomenal wine to pair with a myriad of flavors; especially with roasted turkey, brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, roasted butternut squash, cranberries and so much more. With Hazelfern Cellars 2016 Winter Ros&eacute;, choosing &quot;My One &amp; Only Thanksgiving Wine&quot; was easy breezy.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Julia Crowley</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>The Real Wine Julia</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>LVVR Sparkling Cellars Ros&eacute;</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Naming a &quot;one and only&quot; bottle for a Thanksgiving table is tough, as the range of flavors, textures, and need to drink from the early stages of the meal to the end are tailor made for a variety of wines. That being said, to me the one wine that can handle this Sisyphean chore is sparkling wine, specifically a sparkling ros&eacute;. Search out a lesser known sparkler to make it more special and to make sure your guests haven&#39;t had it before. My suggestion is LVVR Sparkling Cellars Ros&eacute;, young, fresh and tasting of the locally sourced Lodi fruit - classic sparkler flavors with yeastiness, floral notes, and then berries sprinkled throughout. Cheers!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Kovas Palubinskas</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>50 States Of Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Macari Vineyards &quot;Early Wine&quot; Chardonnay 2017</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> A traditional Thanksgiving dinner is as diverse as it gets. You have somewhat neutral turkey, stuffing &mdash; with or without sausage or oysters or whatever depending on your traditions &mdash; buttery mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts or green beans or sweet potatoes or roasted squash, oh and cranberry sauce. That&rsquo;s a myriad of textures and flavors &mdash; before we even consider the preparation variants on each. How can any single wine &mdash;&nbsp; no matter how amazingly food-friendly or delicious &mdash; make each of these taste better, while also tasting better itself? It can&rsquo;t. That&#39;s why I suggest just drinking wines that you like. Drink good wine. But if I had to pick one, which is the point of this story, I&#39;ll be drinking a lot of Macari Vineyards 2017 &quot;Early Wine&quot; Chardonnay. In essence, this is a chardonnay nouveau. It was just released and it checks all of the boxes -- it&#39;s a celebration of the just-past harvest season, offers bright green apple and juicy citrus flavors, has crackling acidity and, most important, will appeal to everyone at my Thanksgiving table. I don&#39;t like wines that I need to think too much about at Thanksgiving, but they have to be delicious. This is just that.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Lenn Thompson</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>The Cork Report</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jordan Cuv&eacute;e by Champagne AR Lenoble</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Thanksgiving is the wine and food pairing superbowl.&nbsp; With everything from strange, but traditional sides (Jell-o Salad anyone?) that can be savory, sweet or both, to glossy, fatty, butter infused foods, how can you possibly pick a single wine?&nbsp; Actually, it&#39;s almost like rigging the game: choose Champagne.&nbsp; Its acidity, bubbles and celebratory character make it an easy pair with Cheese Balls, salads and desserts as easily as turkey with gravy.&nbsp; Just be sure to source enough bottles to carry you through your meal.&nbsp; This Spring, Jordan Winery teamed up with Champagne producer AR LeNoble to bring to the US market a great value delicious Champagne.&nbsp; According to the Jordan site: &quot;The blend is 30% Grand Cru Chardonnay from Chouilly, 35% premier cru Pinot Noir from Bisseuil and 35% Pinot Meunier from Damery. The Jordan Cuv&eacute;e is a special selection of the AR Lenoble Brut Intense that was packaged exclusively for Jordan. Twenty-five percent of the blend is reserve wines, and the base wine is from vintage 2012. This wine spent four years aging on the lees before it was released and has a dosage of 5g/l. AR Lenoble Jordan Cuv&eacute;e Brut NV retails for $49 and will only be sold direct from the winery.&quot; A pale golden color with tight, active bubbles, the wine is gifted with wonderful acidity, freshness, subtle autolytic notes, hints of green apple and honey. Affordable and delicious real Champagne will enable you to take home the food and wine pairing trophy.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Liza Swift</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Brix Chicks</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cabernet Franc</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> One wine above all! Is that even possible? Thanksgiving is around the corner and the wine you place on the table is an important decision. Is it even possible to choose one wine to pair with an entire meal? To me, wine parallels my mood so what is my favorite wine one day, may be replaced by another, depending on what happened in my life that day. When charged with deciding on a &ldquo;One and Only Wine&rdquo; for Thanksgiving, my mind immediately wandered to several aspects and three wines came to mind. An Albari&ntilde;o because it&#39;s light-body, high acidity, salinity and dry citrus flavors scream out for white meat and pairs well with green vegetables. Zinfandel entered the spectrum of thought, because it is considered an All American grape. Introduced to California during the Gold Rush somewhere between 1852 and 1857 and currently the third-leading wine grape variety in California, it would be a perfect selection for the All American holiday. But in the end, I had to choose Cabernet Franc. The father of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenere is one of the most versatile grapes you can pour. For me, Thanksgiving does not involve turkey and Cabernet Franc truly shines with vegetarian dishes. Fall flavors such as rosemary, sage and thyme all pair well with the tart flavors of Cabernet Franc while it&#39;s lighter tannic structure and medium body is designed to highlight the lighter meats such as turkey. Cabernet Franc is an all around meal pleaser. Thanksgiving is not about a single dish, rather about a variety of foods and being with family and friends. Cabernet Franc&rsquo;s profile allows it to be the one wine that embraces the diversity of food and palates.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Lori Budd</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dracaena Wines</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Toil Oregon Pinot Noir</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Our perfect bottle of wine for Thanksgiving is <a href=""><strong>Toil Oregon Pinot Noir</strong></a>, which is gorgeous and glorious &mdash; not often words we use to describe Pinot Noir.&nbsp; Big and complex, Toil&#39;s earthy and savory notes, plus the spices and long, juicy finish, make it perfect to pair with turkey, stuffing and a number of different side dishes. Happy Thanksgiving!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Margot Sinclair Savell</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Write for Wine</strong></a> &ndash; <a href=""><strong>It&rsquo;s Wine O&rsquo;Clock Somewhere!</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut Ros&eacute;</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> If I had to choose only one wine for Thanksgiving it would a ros&eacute; sparkling wine! A sparkling ros&eacute; combines two of the most food friendly wines &ndash; sparkling wine and ros&eacute; to create a synergy that is a must-have for your Thanksgiving meal. We all know that sparkling wine elevates the dining experience. A sparkling ros&eacute; not only makes a great aperitif, it&rsquo;s bold enough to pair along your dinner. Its red fruit character also makes a great complement to the cranberry flavors often found at the Thanksgiving table and its effervescence acts as a palate cleanser to rich gravies and meats. Since Thanksgiving is an American holiday, I prefer an American wine. Furthermore, given the recent wild fires in northern California, I recommend the Schramsberg <strong>Mirabelle Brut Ros&eacute;</strong>. Schramsberg has been making sparkling wine in the Napa Valley for over 50 years! It&rsquo;s a multi-vintage blend (that includes a surprisingly high 25% aged reserve wine) of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from cool climate vineyards in Carneros, Anderson Valley, Marin County and the Sonoma Coast areas of Northern California. It&rsquo;s an expressive well-balanced and zesty wine with a strawberry cream, raspberry, watermelon, and baked pear character with hints of citrus and spiced vanilla.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a wine your guests will give thank for and you&rsquo;ll feel good about helping those affected by the devastating wild fires. And at an SRP of $30 it won&rsquo;t break the bank! Happy Thanksgiving! And may you and your loved ones continue to be blessed!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Martin Redmond</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>ENOFYLZ Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Champagne Pierre Peters, Ros&eacute; d&#39;Albane</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The one wine that I would serve on my Thanksgiving table would have to be champagne. I personally love all things Pierre Peters, but I&rsquo;d go with the Ros&eacute; d&rsquo;Albane Champagne, which would stand up to the richness of the multitudes of food on the table while keeping the celebration that a bubbly brings. For me, the Champagne Pierre Peters Ros&eacute; d&#39;Albane, is bursting with raspberry, currant, strawberry with floral notes like rose with baked bread and mineral notes. Rodolphe P&eacute;ters of Champagne Pierre P&eacute;ters is one of the most highly respected growers in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. This cuvee was first introduced in 2007. For me, it&rsquo;s the perfect celebration and way to give thanks for the wonderful people sitting around the table.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Melanie Ofenloch</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong></strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Pierre Gimonnet &amp; Fils Cuv&eacute;e Mill&eacute;sime Brut 2002</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> My one and only bottle would be a 2002 Pierre Gimonnet &amp; Fils Cuv&eacute;e Mill&eacute;sime Brut from Champagne, France. It&rsquo;s a delicious, hand-crafted gem, with an innate ability to pull you in and not let go. Notes of apple and toast linger from start to finish, with an underlying mineral finesse that dances in the glass. In one word, it is extraordinary!&nbsp; And it will be the easiest wine to pair with food&mdash;it&rsquo;s almost fool proof! From oysters to roasted turkey, and brussel sprouts to pecan pie, you&rsquo;ll rock your guests&rsquo; expectations.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Pamela Heiligenthal</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Enobytes</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Grenache</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> With so many friends. family, and flavorful foods spanning the two leaf Thanksgiing table, selecting the right wine can be difficult. &nbsp;When one views a table loaded with turkey, mashed potatoes, rich flavorful yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and often tastes and spices of brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, butter, and perhaps even a little bacon, you need that right glass to make you do the happy dance. The choice, Grenache. Grenache is the second most planted grape on the planet, and offers red fruits, licorice, pepper, spice, and often a lush texture. Grenache brings the rare ability to pair with almost any of these foods quite well, and will not tire ones palate. Another great aspect of Grenache, is it&#39;s ability to appease so many, and more bang for your buck than many other options. Those drinking it at their Thanksgiving table, will indeed, be thankful for Grenache.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Shawn Burgert</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Wandering Wino</strong></a><br /><br /> </p> Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article7004 It’s a New Era in Sweet Bordeaux Mark Angelillo <p>The golden wines of Bordeaux are a sweet force with which to be reckoned. While Sweet Bordeaux white wines are revered for quality they&rsquo;ve been pigeonholed as &ldquo;dessert wines&rdquo;. This is beginning to change. I do not mean to imply that these wines are completely unsuitable for dessert. It would be folly to make the suggestion. What I wish to illuminate is that the sweet white wines of Bordeaux can be enjoyed during all phases of a meal and on their own. The timing couldn&rsquo;t be better as American food tastes trend away from the bland and overly filling toward the textured and spicy; the golden wines of Bordeaux are a slam dunk pairing for savory dishes with a dash of heat. Sushi is an excellent choice, not to mention a wide range of cheeses. This is just the beginning.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Admired wine educator Fred Swan and I recently tasted a selection of eight Sweet Bordeaux wines in the virtual company of top sommeliers, wine writers, and wine influencers. Fred toured a few sweet wine producers in Bordeaux just last month, experiencing the harvest first-<em>hand</em>, if you will. Read on for more details. You can <a href=""><strong>click here to watch the full virtual tasting now.</strong></a><br /> Sweet wine production makes up less than three percent of Bordeaux&rsquo;s total vineyard area. The development of Sweet Bordeaux is both tedious and magical. Morning mists hang over the vines and encourage the development of a special fungus known as Botrytis Cinerea or &quot;Noble Rot&quot;. The fungus causes each and every grape to shrivel thereby concentrating sugars and acidity. New chemical compounds are created in the process, bringing yet more unique delights to the eventual wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Sweet Bordeaux wines are a blend of the following three grapes: Semillon dominates the blend, followed by Sauvignon Blanc, and just a dash of Muscadelle. It&rsquo;s rare to see more than 25% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% of Muscadelle used in a blend. The thin-skinned Semillon grape is the perfect playground for Botrytis.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The harvesting process is long and arduous. Sweet Bordeaux wines bring new meaning to the term &quot;hand-harvested&quot;. Pickers may take multiple turns through the vineyards as they seek perfectly desiccated grapes. Some grapes are less desiccated than others, bringing small differences that shine in each individual wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Each grape experiences desiccation at the hands of Botrytis in a different way. In the end, it comes down to sugar content, or how much sugar has been concentrated in the berry during the desiccation process. While a standard wine grape contains about two hundred grams of sugar per liter, a Sweet Bordeaux grape can have up to 400 grams per liter or more. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> There are ten regions to look for on your bottle. Some of these names are synonymous with superior quality sweet wine &ndash; and with good reason &ndash; but I encourage you to explore additional sweet wine regions. They are widely available at great values. The regions are: Sauternes, Barsac, Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, Loupiac, Cadillac, Premi&egrave;res C&ocirc;tes de Bordeaux, Graves Sup&eacute;rieures, C&ocirc;tes de Bordeaux Saint-Macaire, C&eacute;rons, Bordeaux Sup&eacute;rieur.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I can&rsquo;t think of a better way to jazz up a holiday table than a few bottles of Sweet Bordeaux. These wines will be inviting to newbie wine drinkers thanks to a mineral-rich sweetness. The veteran wine drinker will be impressed with your ability to spot a growing trend, especially when it comes to pairing. Here are eight selections that are sure to intrigue your guests, plus some suggested pairings for your holiday table.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau Manos Cadillac 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="">Apple, Blue Cheese, and Hazelnut Salad on Endive Leaves</a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau du Cros Loupiac 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="">Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken</a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau La Rame Sainte Croix du Mont 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="">Autumn Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce</a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau Filhot Sauternes 2009</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="">Creamed Oysters in Acorn Squash</a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau Lapinesse Bordeaux Sauternes 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="">Root Vegetable Gratin</a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau Lauvignac Cuv&eacute;e Sahuc Sauternes 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="">Barley, Butternut Squash, and Shitake Risotto</a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau Dauphine Rondillon Loupiac 2009</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="">Creamy Parmesan Polenta</a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Haut Charmes Sauternes 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="">Crispy Braeburn Apple &amp; Almond Sheet Tart</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here to watch the virtual tasting and learn more!</strong></a></p> Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0500 article7003 The Great Red Wines of Austria Snooth Editorial <p>The red wines of Austria are an underappreciated jewel of the wine world. Two-thirds of Austria&rsquo;s vineyard land is dedicated to white varieties. The remaining one-third belongs to red. The red wines of Austria are a closely guarded secret among wine lovers, but demand is on the rise. Vineyard area for red wine grapes has doubled over the past few decades. The country&rsquo;s heritage grapes -- Blaufr&auml;nkisch, St. Laurent, and Zweigelt -- are growing in popularity. The first two grapes are the proud parents of the third. Here we explore this grape family tree and suggest some stunning selections from top brands available for purchase in the United States.<br /> In addition to the heritage grapes, Austria boasts some gorgeous interpretations of red varieties from around the world. They, too, are available at fantastic values from your local retailer. Read on for more.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Blaufr&auml;nkisch</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> The grape family patriarch, Blaufr&auml;nkisch, offers layers of complexity with lots of gamey and spicy notes. Acidity is high and tannins are fine. Blaufr&auml;nkisch takes well to oak, which softens the acidity and amplifies fruit character. Wines created with Blaufr&auml;nkisch have a dark, ruby color that is particularly striking in its beauty. This grape creates food-friendly wines anxious to express the nuances of terroir and vintage. While you can find plantings in Italy (as Franconia Nera), Germany (as Lemberger), Croatia (as Borgonja) and more, Austria is the grape&rsquo;s true home. The Blaufr&auml;nkisch name first appeared in 1862 at a grape variety exhibition in Wien. The International Ampelographic Commission in Colmar, France, officially adopted Blaufr&auml;nkisch in 1875. Blaufr&auml;nkisch is Austria&rsquo;s second most planted red variety after its offspring, Zweigelt, and accounts for 6.5% of Austria&rsquo;s total vineyard area. There are large concentrations of Blaufr&auml;nkisch vines in the Burgenland and Mittelburgenland regions.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Burgenland selections are especially attractive thanks the Pannonian Plain&rsquo;s warming winds. Nearby hills protect the grapes from harsher conditions. The grapes can get at least three hundred days of sunshine per year, and rainfall is low. Blaufr&auml;nkisch is particularly good at expressing mineral notes of Leithakalk, a marine sediment found in the foothills of the Alps.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> A few to try:<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Anita and Hans Nittnaus Eastside Blaufr&auml;nkisch Burgenland 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <em>Pungent, dusty floral notes of violet and ripe cherry blossom with a hint of raspberry and brown sugar. Tart, earthy and acidic on the palate with fresh cranberry and cherry fruit, drying tannins streaking through the center with a perfumed character throughout and a nudge of cherry compote and coffee cake crumble on the drying finish.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Heinrich Blaufr&auml;nkisch Burgenland 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <em>Floral, mixed berry aromas with a clean, light and fresh cherry note. Crisp and clean on entry, this brings cherry, cranberry and red currant fruit with a smooth and medium-light body, hints of tarry earth and a savory spice on the finish with more sticky, smoky cranberry.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Eisenberg Wines</strong><br /><br /> <em>&nbsp;<br /><br /> Eisenberg, Austria&rsquo;s smallest appellation, is renowned for its Blaufr&auml;nkisch. Thousands of years ago Eisenberg was known for high quality ore which was farmed and sold to the Roman empire. In modern times, the iron-rich soil contributes to the terroir of superior quality Blaufr&auml;nkisch.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Wachter Wiesler Bela-Joska Blaufr&auml;nkisch Eisenberg 2013</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <em>Intriguing savory spice, notes of beef bouillon and floral violets on the nose with fresh cherry and soft earth. Ripe, fresh and medium-full bodied on the palate, presenting up front with loads of berry and cherry fruit, but tightly wound at first, this unravels towards the finish, releasing waves of tannins and tart acidity with an herbal oakiness on the finish.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Straka Blaufr&auml;nkisch Eisenberg 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <em>Light, vanishing aromas of cherry and plum. Rich and full on the palate with a licorice and spice palate, notes of smoky tar and dusty earth, firm tannins and baking spice. Finishes with a smooth, full palate of chocolate and violets.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here for a complete list including others to try.</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>St. Laurent</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> The official name of this Austrian grape is Sankt Laurent, but you may see some bottles use &ldquo;Saint Laurent&rdquo; (the German spelling). The &ldquo;St&rdquo; abbreviation helps to keep things simple. St. Laurent plantings in Austria have grown over the last few decades. Producers appreciate the grape for its ability to ripen early and its potential for quality, aromatic wines. The name refers to St. Laurentius, a 3rd century archdeacon of Rome and Catholic martyr. His feast day falls on August 10, which is around when the varietal begins to ripen. St. Laurentius is considered a patron saint of grape growers and winemakers. Wines made from St. Laurent bring aromas of blackberries, sour cherries, plums, and chocolate alongside firm yet silky tannins.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Thermenregion, known for its hot springs, is the warmest part of Lower Austria (also known as Nieder&ouml;sterreich). Red varietals are planted in the south near the towering Anninger mountain (2,214 feet tall). Reams of limestone soils contribute to the unique terroir.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> A few to try:<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Weingut Schneider Sankt Laurent Thermenregion 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <em>Nicely fruity aromas of concentrated black cherry, black currant and blackberry with a creamy vanilla note. Good acidity, nice spice and warm fruit notes of cranberry, cherry and red currant on the palate with a tart and focused herb and spice which gives some complexity to this approachable, lively and refreshing wine.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &ldquo;Dorflagen&rdquo; is a German term for &ldquo;village&rdquo;. The St Laurent grapes for this wine were selected from fifteen to twenty year-old vines concentrated in the village of Gols.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Pittnauer St. Laurent Dorflagen 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <em>A bit restrained with cayenne spice and ripe plum and red currant fruit on the nose. Crisp cranberry, red currant and cherry fruit on the palate with loads of acidity and chewy tannins, turning a bit green towards the finish with a pepper and herb note, some black pepper and a bit of licorice.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here for a complete list including others to try.</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Zweigelt</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> The child of Blaufr&auml;nkisch and St. Laurent is a spritely sort, filled with ripe blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry fruits plus a touch of floral. Zweigelt plantings grew 48% between 1999 and 2015. It is the most widely planted red grape variety in Austria. Viticulturist Fritz Zweigelt made the first cross in 1922 and called it Rotburger. It was later renamed Zweigelt in his honor. These much-adored Zweigelt wines come in a variety of styles. Some are enjoyed young while others exhibit aging potential. Like most all Austrian reds, Zweigelt can be appreciated for its freshness and crispness &ndash; facets of wine that are limited to white varietals in other regions. Zweigelt wines are widely appealing to both red and white wine lovers precisely for this reason.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> A few to try:<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<a href=""><strong>Hugl Weine Zweigelt Nieder&ouml;sterreich 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <em>Complex aromas of fresh bell pepper, perfumed sweet spice, fresh black cherry and raspberry jam and soft clay. Good acidity and an earthy texture open for a fruity blend of blueberry, black cherry and currant with zesty, warming spice.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Carnuntum is the only region in lower Austria where red grapes dominate over white. This is made possible by the nearby Danube river&rsquo;s (Donau in Austria) cooling influence. Zweigelt thrives in the loamy soils of this area.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Netzl Rubin Zweigelt Carnuntum 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <em>Tarry, earthy and smoky with a dark cherry and raspberry fruit hiding underneath the rich earthy aromas on this brooding nose. A bit more fruit expression on the palate, with chunky blueberry and blackberry fruit wrapped in spice, acidity and a vanishing creamy texture that all but disappears on the finish when gripping tannins and espresso notes take over with a gasp of acidity. Austere and assertive.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Artner Wines Zweigelt Klassik Carnuntum 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Raspberry, cherry and red currant aromas are quite fruity. Generous fruit notes of cranberry, cherry, red currant and plum on the palate, tart acidity and fresh cut flowers with a blueberry jammy finish with a hint of coffee candy.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Until 2007, Austria&rsquo;s Wagram wine region was known as Donauland. The name referred to the nearby Danube (Donau) river. The region decided to establish an identity unique to Austria with a name change. Wagram means &quot;shore&rdquo;, and it references the nearby town where most of the region&rsquo;s vines are located. Wagram primarily grows white wine grapes (like Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner, Riesling, and Roter Veltliner) but they also make delicious Zweigelt.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Diwald Zweigelt Grossriedenthaler L&ouml;ss Wagram Austria 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <em>Stately black cherry and blackberry aromas with perfumed flower aromas and fresh anise seed. Zesty and prickly in the mouth, this comes with plenty of red fruit notes of cranberry, cherry and currant, some tart plum skin, blueberry and oak spice towards the finish of gritty tannins, herbed pine and dark chocolate.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here for a complete list including others to try.</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Pinot Noir</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> A new style of Pinot Noir is emerging from Austria &ndash; one that delivers the same coolness and crispness you see in all of the country&rsquo;s wines. These are notably graceful and careful expressions of the grape that will be attractive to all Pinot Noir lovers. The grapes are perfectly ripened yet they retain an aromatic complexity that is hard to capture in a finished wine. Pinot Noir constitutes just 1.3 percent of acres under vine in Austria, but this represents a 58.6% increase in plantings between 1999 and 2009. &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> A few to try:<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Hillinger Eveline Pinot Noir Burgenland 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <em>Sweet spice and lightly floral aromas with rich, syrupy cherry notes and soft strawberry jam. Explosive fruit and bold acidity on entry with a smooth core of blueberry, cherry and strawberry fruit, very juicy and fresh with a pop of fresh spice towards the finish that plays well against the tart cranberry and herbal pine and eucalyptus notes and finishes with cinnamon and nutmeg spice.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>De La Rosa Oneg Pinot Noir Weinland Austria 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <em>Dusty herbal and darkly spiced on the nose with a mineral note coming off savory oak notes. Tart and red fruited on the palate with dried rice syrup, plum and earthy cranberry notes, a bit of medicine and some pleasant minerality towards the finish of cherry and toast.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Malat Pinot Noir Reserve Furth-Palt Nieder&ouml;sterreich 2013</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Tart, spicy and floral with a bit of heat and ripe cherries on the nose. Herbal on entry with tart cranberry, licorice root and birch bark, bright, sharp acidity and a thick streak of tannin coming through with a bit of sticky resin and maple syrup, finishing with a warm spice and a touch of cream.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here for a complete list including others to try.</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Red Blends</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> If you don&rsquo;t wish to commit to a single varietal right now, Austria&rsquo;s expert winemakers offer a number of carefully crafted red blends too.&nbsp; This is where winemakers showcase the skills they and their ancestors have cultivated over multiple millennia making wine in Austria.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> A few to try:<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Heinrich Red Burgenland 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <em>Made with each one of the heritage family grapes, Zweigelt, Blaufr&auml;nkisch, and Sankt Laurent. Dark raisin and plum aromas with a toasted smoky richness and soft red fruit notes. Bold and assertive on the palate with zippy acidity, full bodied cinnamon spice and black pepper, and fruit notes of cranberry and sweet cherry, this finishes with a core of dusty earth and smoldering heat, dried eucalyptus leaf and mixed berry.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Biokult Zweigelt Pinot Noir Burgenland 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <em>Floral licorice notes with soft sawdust aromas and fruit notes of plum, black cherry and savory minerality. Round and juicy on the palate with blue and red fruit notes - mostly black cherry, red currant and bilberry with a richly creamy textured body, soft tannins and a puff of light smoke and fertile earth on the finish.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Nastl Klassik Cuv&eacute;e Zweigelt-Merlot Nieder&ouml;sterreich 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <em>Soft clay and stone earth aromas with some savory spice and a spiky heat somewhat obscure the cherry and cranberry fruit notes. There&#39;s no missing the fruit on the palate though, with a bold generous palate of cherry, cranberry, strawberry and red currant on entry that gives way to a pleasant jaunty spice towards the finish of zesty acidity, dark and smoky roasted cocoa beans and grainy tannins.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Kirnbauer Das Phantom Burgenland 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <em>A combination of Blaufr&auml;nkisch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. Earth, dark spice and bold fruit aromas with a stately blend of black cherry, blackberry and black currant fruit on the nose, somehow restrained even in its expression. Dark and brooding on the palate with stormy black cherry and blackberry fruit roiled by strong tannins, bold acidity and a punchy backbone of fresh baking spice, but finishing with an astringency and buoyancy of character and some light cocoa notes.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here for a complete list including others to try.</strong></a></p> Wed, 01 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6991 A Sicilian Wine Renaissance Michelle Williams <p>Sicily has a jaded reputation. Thanks to the illustrious movie making of Francis Ford Coppola, Americans have believed for decades that Sicily is mafia. Having visited Sicily twice I have yet to meet a Corleone. What I have experienced in Sicily is a carefree atmosphere, affable people, delectable cuisine, and well-crafted wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Sicily is the largest of all the Mediterranean islands, the largest wine region in Italy, and in terms of volume one of Italy&rsquo;s top producing regions. It is an island country within a larger country and Sicilians want to make sure visitors understand this point. A rich history of conquerors including Sicanians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Germans, and Spanish have left a tapestry of influences across the island. These influences, as well as Sicily&rsquo;s island nature, keeps it detached from mainland Italy.<br /> Sicily began producing wine under the Greek occupation. Production thrived along with their reputation. The Romans furthered Sicily&rsquo;s wine reputation. Legend has it Mamertine, a sweet wine, was believed to have been a favorite of Julius Caesar. As the twentieth century arrived Sicily&rsquo;s wine production had become a woeful tale. The mentality shifted from quality to quantity. Bulk wines became the focus, quality winemaking became a rarity, and producers were only bottling 20% of production. Something had to change. In the 1970&rsquo;s-80&rsquo;s quality Sicilian winemakers started a wine revolution. They began to rip out planting of grapes that did not belong in Sicily, revamp winemaking practices by investing in and embracing modern techniques, and winemakers began to explore the Mt. Etna region.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Today Sicily is one of the world&rsquo;s most exciting wine regions. Its topography varies greatly across the island, but characteristically Sicily offers an undulating terrain, poor quality soil, and unyielding sunshine. These conditions are ideal for vitis vinifera. It is home to 23 DOCs and one DOCG. However, many are not well known; therefore, producers often opt for the catch all IGT designation. A few DOCs of note are Etna (gaining attention for its rich volcanic soil wines), Marsala, and Pantelleria (more below). Sicily is home to many international varieties that are worth seeking out; however, the time is now to discover Sicily&rsquo;s top indigenous varieties.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Sicily produces more white grapes than red; however, there are two white grapes you want to know: Grillo and Carricante. Grillo is a chameleon grape of endless potential. If you like Sauvignon Blanc you must try Grillo. It is crisp, savory, even flinty, and often expressive of ripe tropical and stone fruit. It is the grape of Marsala that can also be enjoyed as a dry still, sweet, and sparkling wine. Carricante is often used as a blending grape but can also be found in single varietal wines. It is a workhorse grape, straw yellow with green hues, herbal, citrus, floral notes combined with high acidity make it a great wine to choose.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Sicily is home to many red grapes but I&rsquo;d like to draw your attention to these three as the stars of the bunch. The best known of Sicilian reds is Nero d&rsquo;Avola. It is planted in over 16% of all Sicilian vineyards. Nero d&rsquo;Avola is a dark skinned grape that can be crafted in a variety of styles from light and fruity to rich and robust. Its typical characteristics include dark fruit, floral, minerality, with medium tannins. Its lighter styles are perfect for seafood, a Sicilian classic.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Another red grape is starting to steal some of Nero d&rsquo;Avola&rsquo;s thunder. Nerello Mascalese can be considered a cross between Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo. This grape is grown in the rich volcanic soil of Mt. Etna. It offers red fruit and floral notes with structure of tannins and acidity to promote age-ability.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> A final Sicilian red grape of note is Frappato. Formerly a blending grape, Frappato has come into its own. Popular with somms and savvy wine purchasers, this red grape crafts wines that express red fruit and spice in its youth, as it ages the fruit notes dry and are joined by dried floral and herbal notes as well. This is another red to enjoy with fish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> One cannot have a conversation about Sicilian wines without a mention of Zebbibo, aka Muscat of Alexandria. These grapes grow on the tiny island of Pantelleria, an active volcanic satellite island off the coast of Tunisia. The island was under Arab rule for four centuries; during that time they introduced grapevines to the island. Zebbibo is crafted into dry still wines; however, it is most revered as Passito di Pantelleria. This sweet dessert wine is rich and viscous with flavors of dried apricots, figs, and honey. It typically offers a balanced mouth-feel with plenty of acidity.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Here are some suggestions to get your Sicilian wine exploration underway:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2016 Firriato Altavilla Della Corte DOC Sicilia</strong>: 100% Grillo; pale gold in the glass; medium+ aromas of Korean melon, fresh squeezed citrus, floral notes, honey, almonds; classic wine, refreshing, light and lively on the palate, dry with medium acidity, this is an easy wine to drink and enjoy.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2016 Tenute Gorghi Tondi Kheir&egrave; DOC Sicilia</strong>: 100% Grillo; medium- lemon with gold hues in the glass; pronounced aromas of ripe melon, stone and tropical fruit (pineapple), citrus zest; full on the palate, pronounced acidity, elegant wine with good structure, potential for aging, long mouth-watering finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2016 Pietradolce Archineri Etna Bianco</strong>: 100% Carricante; pale gold in the glass; delicate aromas of stone fruits such as peaches and apricot, pears, and white floral notes all resting on a backbone of firm minerality; racy acidity, a complex wine that evolves throughout the bottle, long crisp finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2016 Firriato Le Sabbie Dell&rsquo;Etna DOC</strong>: 80% Carricante, 20% Catarratto; pale gold in the glass; medium aromas of stone fruit, pears, jasmine, and honey; mineral driven palate, medium+ acidity, crisp and zesty with a mouth-watering long saline finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2015 Tenute Gorghi Tondi Sorante DOC Sicilia</strong>: 100% Nero d&rsquo;Avola; medium+ ruby in the glass; medium aromas of black fruit, violets, baking spice, dried herbs, black pepper, medicinal; the fullness of the nose follows through on the palate, expressive wine, rich and round, medium acidity and tannins, earthy with a medium finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2015 Donnafugata Sed&agrave;ra Nero d&rsquo;Avola DOC Sicilia</strong>: Predominately Nero d&rsquo;Avola with some added Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and other grapes; medium- ruby with scarlet hues; medium+ aromas of fresh picked blackberries, cherries, blueberries, and cranberries, dried violets, sweet baking spice, black pepper; a medium body wine with medium acidity and tannins, fresh and elegant on the palate, easy to drink, youthful and pleasing.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2015 Pietradolce Contrada Etna Rosso</strong>: 100% Nerello Mascalese; pale scarlet in the glass; medium aromas of blackberries, dried red flowers, dried herbs, black tea, black currant leaf, medicinal; black fruits envelop the palate, layered and complex wine with medium+ tannins and acidity, round with a nice lift on back palate, rich, elegant, full body, long finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2015 Firriato Le Sabbie Dell&rsquo;Etna DOC</strong>: A blend of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio; pale ruby in the glass; medium aromas of red berries, dried roses, baking spice, savory herbs, tea, and medicinal notes; medium body wine with medium+ acidity and grippy tannins, easy to drink better with food, minerality present, crowd pleasing wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2015 Baglio di Pianetto BDP Y Frappato IGT</strong>: 100% Frappato; medium+ scarlet in the glass; medium aromas of dark red and black fruit, roses, dried herbs, eucalyptus, minerality; light wine, well-structured, balanced with medium tannins and acidity, nice earthiness mid and back palate, high approachable easily enjoyable wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2015 Firriato Sor&igrave;a Frappato DOC Sicilia</strong>: 100% Frappato; medium+ ruby in the glass; medium+ aromas of red fruit, candied violets, baking spice, tobacco; lush and silky mouth-feel, good structure, balanced with medium+ acidity and tannins, this is a crowd pleasing porch pounding wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2014 Donnafugata Ben Rye Passito di Pantelleria DOC</strong>: 100% dried Zibbibo; deep amber with gold hues in the glass; pronounced aromas of dried apricots, dried figs, orange blossoms, toasted almonds, candied ginger, spice notes of cardamom and cinnamon, and orange blossom honey; rich and decadent on the palate this sweet wine is beautifully balanced with firm acidity that wraps the palate, long sultry finish that begs for another sip; a wine to dazzle the senses.</p> Tue, 31 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6997 A Washington Winery Worth Watching John Downes <p>Most press trips are dominated by wall to wall tastings and seminars run at an unforgiving pace topped with long days, little sleep and no down time to reflect or gather thought. Inevitably the result is a fuzzy memory of the wines and more frustratingly, a journey home searching for that all important sense and feeling of place. Whilst organisers believe &lsquo;more is more&rsquo;, the journos. know that &lsquo;less is more&rsquo; for better press. As I&rsquo;ve always said, on a demanding trip the clever winemaker greets you with those magical words. &ldquo;fancy a beer?&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> My recent trip to Washington and Oregon inevitably fell into the &lsquo;more is more&rsquo; category, especially the Oregon leg, but whilst Christophe Baron didn&rsquo;t offer us a beer on arrival he did give us a clear vision of his wines and a meaningful sense of place at Cayuse, not to mention a one man show full of passion, gesture and emotion that wouldn&rsquo;t have been out of place on the London stage.<br /> Amazingly many visits on the trip did not include vineyards but Christophe knew that his vines - and his famous cobblestones - were the soul of Cayuse and the starting point to give weary visitors a better understanding of his wines and domaine, not to mention sunshine and a breath of fresh air.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Christophe, brought up in the family&rsquo;s Champagne House, trained in Avize and then Beaune before buying Cayuse in 1997, &ldquo;as soon as I saw the cobblestones my thoughts went to Chateauneuf du Pape, planting Syrah and creating a world class &lsquo;Rhone&rsquo; wine&rdquo;, he recalled as he opened the show. His stage was a metre high mound of cobblestones, &ldquo;Cayuse means stones&rdquo;, he explained. Syrah has the leading role with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Merlot, Tempranillo and Viognier in the chorus line.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Today, Cayuse comprises 5 vineyards, namely Cailloux (10 acres), Coccinelle (4.5), En Cerise (10), En Chamberlin (10) and Armada (7), producing 14 labels totalling about 4500 cases. All are planted in the stony soil, resulting in &ldquo;highly stressed vineyards with an average yield of only two tons per acre&rdquo;. The winery is located in the vineyards, &ldquo;which means that we can taste the grapes as opposed to relying on analysis from 100 miles away&rdquo;, he smiled.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> From the very beginning Cayuse vineyards were farmed organically and in 2002 Cayuse became the first domaine in Walla Walla (great name for Christophe&rsquo;s one man London debut) to implement biodynamic viticulture. Cayuse crushed its first biodynamic fruit for the 2005 vintage, &ldquo;using the inter-relationship of earth, plants, and animals in a closed, self-nourishing ecosystem and an astronomical sowing and planting calendar&rdquo;, Christophe explained.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Cayuse&rsquo;s first plantings were on a 10 feet x 4 feet grid (1089 vines/acre), the second plantings were 6 feet x 4 feet (1815 vines/acre) followed by 3.5 feet x 3.5 feet (3555 vines/acre) with the latest vineyard boasting a tight 3 feet x 3 feet (4840 vines/acre) layout. The latter is planted with Syrah and worked by horses, &ldquo;it preserves the old ways but is also efficient for such a tight grid&rdquo;. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The tasting was held in the winery with Christophe and his assistant vigneronne Elizabeth Bourcier holding centre stage with a cast of 12 wines;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> God Only Knows Grenache 2012, Cailloux Vineyard Syrah 2013, Bionic Frog 2010, 2006 Armada Vineyard Syrah, 1999 Cailloux Vineyard Syrah, 2003 The Widowmaker (100% Cabernet Sauvignon), 2008 Impulsivo (100% Tempranillo), No Girls 2009 Syrah, Horsepower Vineyards 2013 Sur Echalas Vineyard Grenache, Horsepower Vineyards 2013 Sur Echalas Vineyard Syrah, Horsepower Vineyards 2011 The Tribe Vineyard Syrah and Hors Categorie Vineyard Syrah 2014.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> To compliment biodynamic farming and hand harvesting, in the winery Christophe and Elizabeth favour &ldquo;native yeast primary fermentation and native MLB, concrete fermentation, punchdowns and pumpovers, cuvaison of 2-3 weeks, partial whole cluster, ageing in French demi-muid and foudre&rdquo; for the majority of the wines. The exceptions were the 2008 Impulsivo and the 2003 The Widowmaker which were destemmed.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> When it came to the wines, as with most visits the opinions of the group were healthily varied. I liked them &hellip; my notes included &ldquo;similar wine style over the varieties - good intensity of juicy red and black fruits, liquorice overtones, friendly tannins, balanced oak, wines aged well - hellishly moreish &hellip; a bottle would disappear very quickly&rdquo;. That said, these biodynamic beauties come at a price, ranging from $75 (No Girls 2009 Syrah) through $120 (Horsepower Vineyards 2013 Sur Echalas Vineyard Grenache) to the 2014 Hors Categorie Vineyard Syrah which sports a $250 price tag. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Christophe Baron and Cayuse were one of my highlights of the trip; his enthusiasm in both vineyard and winery was infectious and ensured that we didn&rsquo;t leave with a fuzzy memory of the wines or without an understanding, sense or feeling of the estate &hellip; just the opposite, when I close my eyes I can still &lsquo;taste&rsquo; the wines and I&rsquo;m back amongst the cobblestones and horses.</p> Thu, 26 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6992 This Wine Region is Trending Snooth Editorial <p>According to the Wine Institute, in 2015, over 28 million liters of wine were produced by sixty-three different wine producing countries. There are currently 195 different countries in our world, which means that a whopping one third of it is making wine. We all cherish our favorite wine countries and regions, but there are some superior wine producing areas lurking in the shadows. Their cult followings are starting to billow and capture new swaths of wine lovers. Thirsty for the next big thing? The web&rsquo;s finest wine writers are calling out the latest and greatest trending wine regions. Have you tried a bottle from one of these trendy regions yet? Grab a bottle and get on board.<br /> <strong>Alentejo, Portugal</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>An overlooked wine region I think is poised for dramatic growth in the US is the Alentejo region of Portugal. While not as well-known as the Douro region, the Alentejo wine region, which covers about a third of Portugal produces the most popular wines among the Portuguese. The terroir features undulating topography, and an even very warm growing season with plenty of sun.&nbsp; It also has remarkable portfolio of indigenous and international grapes that Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein refers to as the &ldquo;United Nation of Grapes&rdquo;. The red wines are typically made from These wines are typically made from Aragonez(Tempranillo), Castelao, Trincadeira or a combination of the three. But Alentejo has also been quick to adopt international varieties like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. And there is not better place in the world to grow Alicante Bouschet. The region&rsquo;s progressive winemakers, informed by, but not bound by tradition use its diverse selection of indigenous and international grapes to produce (mostly red) wines with generous fruit flavors and refined tannins. The region is also famous for making wine in clay amphorae called talhas.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation, though today the techniques (and equipment) for making wine in clay vessels is being refined. In some ways Alentejo reminds me of California because of its climate, many progressive and modern wineries and focus on sustainability.&nbsp; Alentejo&rsquo;s combination of making generous, thoughtful wines in a sustainable way, the region&rsquo;s natural beauty and vibrant gastronomic scene wines make it a natural for wine tourists and foodies alike. The wines have shown well against the against the wines of France, Spain and Italy. While the wines of Alentejo can be challenging to find &ndash; for now -&nbsp; they are worth seeking out!</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Martin Redmond</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>ENOFYLZ Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Applegate Valley, Oregon</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>The varietals grown in Southern Oregon&#39;s Applegate Valley AVA are as diverse as the myriad of micro-climates that make up this unique grape growing region.&nbsp; &quot;Too warm for classic Pinot,&quot; says Craig Camp, General Manager of Applegate Valley&#39;s <a href=""><strong>Troon Vineyard</strong></a>, &quot;and a growing season too short for Cabernet Sauvignon and [Cabernet] Franc means that we are focused on far more exciting varieties - Tannat, Vermentino, Malbec and the Rhone varieties.&nbsp; The Applegate has altitude, a warm dry growing season and, on the Kubli Bench, granitic soils.&quot;&nbsp; Two of several absolutely unforgettable wines I recently sampled from Troon Vineyard included a juicy, savory and smoky Black Label 2014 M*T Reserve (60.1% Tannat and 39.9% Malbec) filled with ripe blackberry, cherry and plum, accompanied by gripping tannins and vibrant acidity; as well as, the distinctive 2016 Riesling Whole Grape Ferment Orange Wine.&nbsp; Crafted much like they do their red wines, this extraordinary Riesling was fresh, dry and loaded with complex layers of flavors. Fermented on its skins, it had a brief stay in mature French oak barrels, lending to its incredible texture and rich characteristics.&nbsp; When asked if he agreed with me that Applegate Valley AVA was poised for an explosive presence throughout the wine industry, including consumers and critics alike, Camp answered, &quot; The Applegate is going to gain attention for the same reason that Sardegna and Corsica are now getting serious attention.&nbsp; Complex, interesting wines at prices people can afford to drink.&quot;</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Julia Crowley</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>The Real Wine Julia</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cru Beaujolais</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>The Beaujolais Crus in France are poised to overcome their perennial &quot;red headed stepchild&quot; reputation in the US market, emerging from their unfortunate association with Nouveau Beaujolais. However, they have one remaining barrier to their explosive success: the labels on their bottles. Enthusiasts know the Cru Beaujolais are labeled by the individual Cru (e.g. Morgon, Fleurie, Saint-Amour), but newcomers are doubly mystified: Is this a Beaujolais wine? What&#39;s Morgon?&nbsp; The Beaujolais producers need to get together and agree to add the moniker &quot;Cru Vin de Beaujolais&quot; or something similar to their labels, much as in Bordeaux and Bourgogne. Then, look out! They bring great taste and affordability. What&#39;s not to like?</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jeff Burrows</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Food Wine Click</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Franciacorta</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Sparkling wines, in my opinion, are enjoying somewhat of a renaissance as the stigma surrounding their perceived formality subsides and consumers embrace their inherent food friendliness and overall versatility. This shift in consumer perception combined with the millennial generations thirst for something truly unique and authentic are why I believe Italy&#39;s premier sparking wine region, Franciacorta, is poised for explosive growth in the US market. Nestled in the gentle rolling hills within the northern reaches of Italy&#39;s Lombardy region, this young yet fiercely dynamic region has made tremendous progress in their quest for quality and authenticity. Governed by production standards more stringent than those in Champagne and the first in Italy to require that all of their wines be produced in the significantly more costly and labor intensive M&eacute;thode Traditionelle, Franciacorta is serious about sparkling. For much of its short history (the region has only been producing sparkling wine since 1961), the majority of Franciacorta wines never left Italian borders, as savvy locals absorbed the relatively modest production with prideful enthusiasm. But as interest in the region grows, so is production, as well as a focus on increasing exports to the Unites States. When you consider that Franciacorta typically offers a distinct price advantage over sparklers of comparable quality you might understand why I believe US consumers will offer their increasing availability a warm welcome.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Ryan O&#39;Hara</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>The Fermented Fruit</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Georgia</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Overlooked for millennia, Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world, with some winemakers still using the historic terracotta urns called qvevri, though most using more modern methods. Now, people are starting to notice the unique and high quality wines that are being produced there. Salty whites? Brooding reds? Yes and more. Not sure where to start? You could search out safe wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon, but better to go indigenous and find wines made with Rkatsiteli (best known white), Mtsvane, and Saperavi (best known red) grapes for a taste of whites and reds.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Kovas Palubinskas</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>50 States Of Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Hungary</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Several come to mind, including Rias Baixas, Spain (for Albari&ntilde;o), but I&rsquo;m going to go with Hungary. For any region to break out in the national market, I feel it has to 1) be in a position to produce enough wine to satisfy the market, 2) meet quality standards that appeal to consumers and drive demand, 3) the wines need to be accessible to consumers throughout the US, and 4) be backed by a well-executed and robust marketing campaign (@FurmintUSA gets the word out!). The twist in my pick: I&rsquo;m not talking about the region&rsquo;s famed, golden colored, lovely dessert wines from Tokaj&mdash;principally made from the native Furmint grape variety. I&rsquo;m talking Dry Furmint (non-sweet white wine)&mdash;the region&rsquo;s flagship white wine. I visit wine shops virtually every weekend, and surprisingly, Dry Furmint is many consumers introduction to Hungarian wine, and they like that they taste and are eager to explore more. This suggests new growth opportunities.&nbsp; While I&rsquo;m not seeing a huge selection right now, I can walk into area wine shops and pick from several different producers. These wines are usually in the alternative white wine section. Some common characteristics I find are fresh fruit flavors, namely orchard and citrus blossom, along with pretty floral notes, a mineral edge, and a firm backbone of refreshing acidity&mdash;with the latter being most common across the board. These are interesting, if not unique, white wines&mdash;cerebral, in a sense. If for some (odd) reason your local wine shop or favorite restaurant does not carry Dry Furmint, the best thing you can do is ask for it by name. I encourage you to do so. For readers familiar with the wine, please leave one or two of your favorite producers in the comment section. Thank you, and have a great day.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Dezel Quillen</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>My Vine Spot</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Israel</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>On a wine press trip to Israel this past January, I found that they have a wonderful array of elegant wines. One fantastic producer that can be found in the US market is Recanati Winery - I loved their Old Vines Wild Carignan.&nbsp; Another producer, whose wines are unfortunately not on the US scene YET, but whom I am completely impressed with, is Ya&#39;acov Oryah, a winemaker who makes his living by working for larger wineries, but has his own wine that bears his name. He has the only Hunter Valley style S&eacute;millon in Israel, Emek Hatzayadim, as well as an orange wine called Alpha Omega. I have not tasted any of his wines, so why talk about him? Well, during my trip, I went to a wine symposium where I could taste many Israeli wines. Since he was the winemaker for a large wine company, he spoke to my group on their behalf. Ya&#39;acov was a humble man who stood out with a raw honesty and transparency that stayed with me. Only after I came back to the US did I find out that he made his own small production wines&hellip; I then started to research Ya&#39;acov further&hellip; he is not a superstar winemaker with a fancy pedigree; he is someone who is deeply admired from those in the know. Although he himself is a devout religious Jewish vintner, he fights for the rights of all winemakers, no matter their religious beliefs (or lack of beliefs), and he is drawn to wine because it is a way to connect with various people. Ya&#39;acov is not the latest hot-shot in the Israeli wine scene but I truly believe he is the future&hellip; a future that we are all desperately trying to fight for&hellip; learning to live in a globalized world while not losing the best parts of ourselves.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cathrine Todd</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dame Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Maryland</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>When people think of Maryland, they probably think of crab cakes. I know I did until my recent trip to Maryland for TasteCamp, an annual immersion weekend for those of us who write about or work with wine and other craft beverages. Did you know that winemaking in Maryland dates back to 1648 and that there are around 1000 acres planted with wine grapes? There are numerous regional wine trails across the state including the Antietam, Capital, Carroll, Chesapeake, Frederick, and Patuxent Wine Trails, as well as cider and mead trails. Winemaking in Maryland includes white, ros&eacute;, red, and sparkling offerings, as well as sweet, off-dry, and dry wines. Although there are many more, a few of my favorite producers from my visit are (in alphabetical order) Big Cork Vineyards, Black Ankle, Boordy Vineyards, Chateau Bu-De Winery &amp; Vineyard and Bohemia Manor Farm, Crow Vineyard, Harmony Vineyards and Winery, Links Bridge Vineyards, and Old Westminster Winery. Whether it&#39;s Old Westminster Winery&rsquo;s effervescent P&eacute;t-Nat of Albari&ntilde;o, Big Cork Vineyards Russian Kiss (a one-of-a-kind wine made from Muscat and Russian grape varieties), a beautiful, Bordeaux-style red blend from Black Ankle, or a mouthwatering, dry ros&eacute; from Boordy Vineyards, there&#39;s a Maryland wine for everyone. I suggest visiting the Maryland Wineries Association website, <a href=""><strong></strong></a>, where you will learn more about Maryland wine and &quot;Create Your Journey&quot; with the association&#39;s interactive map. It&#39;s time to taste Maryland.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Elizabeth Smith</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Traveling Wine Chick</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Paso Robles, California</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>If you don&rsquo;t yet know much about Paso Robles, now is the perfect time to get acquainted. This Central Coast California region boasts more than 200 wineries, which produce wine from more than 40 different grape varieties. Home to California wine country&rsquo;s highest concentration of calcareous soils, and the largest day-night temperature swings (due to the Pacific Ocean&rsquo;s cooling effect through the Templeton Gap), Paso is uniquely situated to produces wines of tremendous depth and complexity. Known mostly for rich Bordeaux and Rhone reds, <a href=""><strong>during a visit in September</strong></a> I found many thrilling wines made from Spanish, Portuguese and Italian grapes as well, and so many of the wines showed vibrancy and freshness to match the sunshiny fruit. It&rsquo;s a gorgeous place to visit with easily-accessible wineries and a welcoming, small town feel. Check it out!</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Isaac James Baker</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Terroirist; Reading, Writing &amp; Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Paso Robles, California</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>When you mention &ldquo;Wine Region&rdquo; to a large portion of people (at least here in the United States) the first thing that comes to their minds is Napa or Sonoma. Although these regions are stellar, there are so many others that have yet to rise into consumers&rsquo; consciousness and that is sad. Willamette Valley, Central Virginia, Texas Hill Country, Walla Walla just to name a few. These regions are producing wines that are beckoning for the people to enjoy, but unfortunately haven&rsquo;t reached that point of popular public recognition yet. One wine region that has been trending as of recently began growing grapes&nbsp; in 1797 when missionaries at Mission San Miguel Arcangel planted over 1000 vines. Paso Robles, located on the Central Coast in San Luis Obispo county, is a wine region definitely on the uptrend. The first commercial wine growing began in the 1880s with Ascension Winery, which later changed names to York Mountain Winery, and today is known as Epoch Estate Wines.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>In less than thirty years, the number of wineries in Paso Robles has gone from less than 20 to almost 300 with over 40 wine grape varieties grown and 40,000 acres planted. With accolades including Wine Spectators&rsquo; #1 wine in the World for 2011 (Saxum), Wine Enthusiast&rsquo;s 2013 Wine Region of the Year and Sunset Magazine&rsquo;s 2016 Best Wine Country Town, Paso Robles has skyrocketed onto many wine consumer&rsquo;s radar.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Lori Budd</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dracaena Wines</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Paso Robles, California</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>With devastating fires leaving the near future of much of Napa and Sonoma County wine regions filled with uncertainty, Paso Robles stands waiting in the wings.&nbsp; A region where wine making and grape growing actually predate Napa County by about 50 years, the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA) is home to over 200 wineries with 40,000 of its 614,000 acres planted to over 40 grape varieties. Located along California&#39;s Central Coast and situated halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, what once was simply &quot;East Side&quot; and &quot;West Side&quot;is now further divided into Paso&#39;s 11 diverse AVAs. Many wines produced here are allocation only -- with small lot productions often selling out to club members within weeks of their release. From the well-known Tablas Creek Vineyard to the tiny production of <a href=""><strong>kukkula</strong></a>, Paso Robles boasts exceptional Rhone style blends from Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache. For those who prefer Bordeaux blends, Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted grape in Paso Robles. Paso also features expressive whites -- Viognier, Albarino, Chenin Blanc and Roussanne among them. And for the beer aficionado Paso Robles is home to the famed <a href=""><strong>Firestone Walker Brewing Company</strong></a>, as well as a new crop of distillers that make their very own gin.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Amy Corron Power</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Another Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Pennsylvania</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>There are so many regions that are worthy and deserving of more attention, but I&#39;m going to go with Pennsylvania -- yes, seriously. Despite a legacy of sweet, mainly hybrid and native wines that weren&#39;t very good, there is a small, and growing, group of winery owners and winemakers -- mostly clustered in the southeast part of the state -- who are redefining what Pennsylvania wines are and can be. Mesoclimates matter a lot in the Keystone State. A single hill just outside of Philadelphia yields some of most delicious, singular field blends in America at Va La Vineyards. Producers like Waltz Vineyards, Allegro Vineyards and Penns Woods are making Bordeaux-variety wines that show both power and elegance as well as delicately balanced chardonnays and sauvignon blanc. A bit further to the north, you can even find North America&#39;s benchmark Gruner Veltliner -- at Galen Glen Winery.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Lenn Thompson</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>The Cork Report </strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Santa Clara Valley, California</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Time, terroir and skill will tell, but the Santa Clara Valley AVA feels poised to make its move.&nbsp; With historical vineyards from the 1850&rsquo;s, like Guglielmo, Soberanes and Under the Mountain, this former farming community has given way to tech sprawl. But in key areas, coincidentally adjacent to Santa Cruz Mountains AVA, which produces some of the world&rsquo;s best wine #RidgeMontebello, conditions are there to produce amazing wines. Another coincidence, it was at the last Santa Cruz AVA grand tasting where I found several delightful Santa Clara Valley AVA wines. One of them was Odonata Vineyards 2014 Grenache.&nbsp; Despite the above 100-degree ambient temperature, the wine delighted me with fresh spicy fruit and a lovely balance. For a producer to invest in labelling its offering with a burgeoning AVA indicates their faith in their product to distinguish itself by making the AVA reference pay off. Of course, producing distinctive excellent wine with a sense of place is step one. Santa Clara has several producers including Clos La Chance (excellent value, beautiful bottles, delicious wines) and Guglielmo (historic winery with daringly varietally specific bottlings of Charbono, Pinot Blancs, et al.)&nbsp; doing that today. With more accolades and more winemakers producing a label with the Santa Clara AVA, all signs are there for the Santa Clara Valley to make a mark in the wine world. &nbsp;</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Liza Swift</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Brix Chicks</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Savenni&egrave;res</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Savenni&egrave;res, a tiny appellation situated in the middle of France&rsquo;s Loire Valley, may be one of the most underrated regions poised to emerge from the tables of geeky oenophiles to mainstream American wine consumers.&nbsp; Chenin Blanc is the grape of the historic region.&nbsp; Savenni&egrave;res is known for expressive, complex, beautifully textured, and high-acid Chenin Blancs.&nbsp; The wines of the Savenni&egrave;res range from bone dry to sweet (though ~95% are dry) and tend to show their true beauty with a decade or two (or more) of age.&nbsp; Look for distinctive Chenins from these Savennieres producers: Domaine aux Moine, Baumard, Domaine d&rsquo;&Eacute;pir&eacute;, Domaine du Closel, and Nicolas Joly.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Frank Morgan</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Drink What YOU Like</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>South Africa</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Hemel en Aarde&nbsp; which translates to heaven and earth, describes not only the beauty of the land, but the quality of the wine and the name of the wine appellation near Hermanus in the Western Cape of South Africa. The charming fishing village of Hermanus is a two-hour drive from Cape Town, but you will scarcely notice the time it takes because the drive is so beautiful. Hermanus is coastal, cool and wet as is Hemel en Aarde which extends along the R320 inland from Hermanus. Hemel en Aarde is comprised of three Wards based on distinct terroir. Closest to Hermanus is Hemel en Aarde Valley, followed by Upper Hemel en Aarde and finally Hemel en Aarde Ridge. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay reign supreme in this region, as you might expect based on the cool climate, and I was swept away by the quality and purity of the wines I tasted on a visit to the region last year. The wines I remember best: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Hamilton Russell and Bouchard Finlayson. The food and wine pairings at Creation Wines demonstrated how enjoyable these wines are with food. And finally, perhaps my favorite of all, Ataraxia for outstanding Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and their lovely Pinot Noir, Cinsault, Pinotage blend called Serenity. Finally, I must mention Storm Pinot Noir (Moya&rsquo;s) which I tasted here at home and prompted my visit to Hemel en Aarde.&nbsp; Whether the wines from this region will present an explosive presence in the US wine market I can&rsquo;t say. I do hope they will. The effort it took to my husband and I to travel from Cape Town to Hemel en Aarde was absolutely worth it and I&rsquo;m certain finding these wines in the US will be worth your while as well. Cheers!</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Nancy Brazil</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Pull That Cork</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Texas Hill Country</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>When I think of an area poised for growth, Texas Hill Country comes to mind.&nbsp; What many don&rsquo;t know is that this is the second largest viticultural area in America with more than 9 million acres planted with several identified microclimates. Grapes planted include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, Sangiovese, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Mourv&egrave;dre. The wines range from Bordeaux varietals to Mediterranean styles.&nbsp; Keep an eye on these &ndash; especially in October during Texas Wine Month -- as the prices can&rsquo;t be beat, the wines are award-winning and we take pride in greeting you with a Texas size welcome when you visit &ndash; unfortunately that is the only way you will be able to taste most of these as they never leave the tasting rooms.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Melanie Ofenloch</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong></strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Texas</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>I&#39;ve said it before and I&#39;ll say it again. If you haven&#39;t discovered the wines of Texas, it is time to seek them out. We&#39;ve poured over and poured into what works in the region. While the bigger players have been made available nationally, many have not. To sample smaller producers may require a little more persistence, but your efforts will be rewarded. The wines are as diverse as the terrain. Ranging from rustic to refined, there is a wine to please every palate and pair with every dish. You&#39;ll find some classic Bordeaux varieties and find that Rhone and Mediterranean grapes are thriving. Vermentino to Viognier, Mourvedre to Malbec, even producing lesser known varieties like Tannat and Picpoul. And look for Ros&eacute;s that will make you swoon. The growers and winemakers are particularly excited about this year&#39;s harvest, in quality and quantity. Each year, more producers are committing to make wines made with 100% Texas grapes, a testament to how far we&#39;ve come and how confident we are in our future.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Alissa Leenher</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>SAHMelier</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Virginia</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>For three years, I just ignored Virginia while my fellow oenophiles talked about it as a wine region poised to impact the wine market, the only question being, WHEN?&nbsp; Then, in conversation, I ultimately agreed to stop being a stodgy old grump and taste at least one Virginia wine. Being a champion of the independent winemakers, I eventually got in contact with a small-batch limited-production Virginia winemaker and bought some of his wines upon release. After a snag with shipping, I was regretting my decision. But that feeling turned around when I eventually popped the cork and tasted the wine; I can&rsquo;t begin to tell you the shock I felt when the flavors finally reached my palate. Beautiful fruit flavors, aged in stainless steel on chardonnay lees; a remarkable mouthfeel with medium body, with an overall impression of elegance and luxury. I was impressed, not a little, but a lot. I really liked <a href=""><strong>Jake Busching&rsquo;s viognier</strong></a> and am waiting for a couple of free days to spend with his cabernet franc, which he considers to be &ldquo;Virginia&rsquo;s grape&rdquo;. If Jake is a sole example of what is going right in Virginia, then I have a lot more tasting to do. His viognier is a prime example of excellence in winemaking, and it&rsquo;s just a few states away from home- I want this in my cellar, to share with my guests. You will, too&hellip;eventually.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jim vanBergen</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Jvb uncorked</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Willamette Valley</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Willamette Valley makes expressive Pinot noir, but we often overlook their beautiful white wines. I am particularly fond of their austere Chardonnay styles as well as their food friendly Pinot gris and Pinot blancs, which are fruit-forward, crisp and clean. They are excellent values that showcase the spectrum of styles that are made from this region. And let&rsquo;s not forget the fuller-bodied reds from southern Oregon. Umpqua, Rogue and Applegate are poised to take the market by storm with their delicious red varieties. I find their Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Syrah and Bordeaux styles quite intriguing. And since they are reasonably priced and readily available, they are poised for an explosive presence in the U.S. market.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Pamela Heiligenthal</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Enobytes</strong></a></p> Tue, 24 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6989 Wine Lovers Rally Around California Snooth Editorial <p>News of raging fires in our beloved California wine regions is positively heartbreaking. The impact of these fires is felt around the world. We find ourselves searching for updates on the status of our favorite wineries. We pour over photographs of the destruction and think about families who&rsquo;ve lost their homes. Lost their jobs. Lost their lives. It is more important than ever to join together and support the communities whose inherent charms bring so very much joy to millions. California wine country is an American treasure. Its people need our support. How can we help?<br /> There are a number of organizations and funds that will be supporting California wine country during its time of need. Please consider making a gift, no matter the size, to an organization or fund that resonates with you most.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong><a href="">Click here to make a gift to the Napa Valley Disaster Relief Fund.</a></strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong><a href="">Click here to make a gift to the Sonoma County Resilience Fund.</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="">Click here to make a gift to the Community Foundation of Mendocino County.&nbsp;</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="">Click here to choose a Go Fund Me campaign.</a>&nbsp;</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Photo Credit: Bob McClanahan for the Napa Valley Vintners&nbsp;&nbsp; </em></p> Fri, 13 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6987 How to Write the Best Ever Wine Tasting Note Snooth Editorial <p>Writing is a cathartic exercise. The same can be said about tasting wine. Amazing things will happen when the two practices are merged. Tasting notes are an opportunity to sharpen your palate and uncover curious flavors. Pineapple tops? Dentist&rsquo;s office chair? A laundry list of chemical compounds commingle in your glass to create unique tasting experiences. When it comes to tasting notes the truth is in the palate of the taster. But like all art, there is some science involved. We asked the web&rsquo;s top wine writers to give us their thoughts on how to write a great tasting note. They also shared some of the most interesting flavors they&rsquo;ve ever found in a wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> What&rsquo;s the most unique tasting note you&rsquo;ve ever found? Let us know in the comments.<br /> <em>I was a writer long before I was of legal wine-drinking age, and I learned a lot about my writing style while studying journalism as an undergraduate. I loved interviewing people, posing poignant questions, trying to figure out what made the subject of the interview unique. When it comes to writing tasting notes (and I&rsquo;ve written thousands of them), I take this same approach. I sit back and interview the wine in my glass.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It all comes down to asking the right questions. Is the color light gold or dark yellow, and what does the viscosity tell me about the wine? This wine smells spicy, but there are thousands of spices &mdash; is this clove, black pepper, anise, fennel? How does the body of the wine or the tannins, if present, balance out with the wines acidity? Fine wine has so many stories to tell, and I try to listen as well as I can when writing a tasting note. When &ldquo;interviewing&rdquo; my first Georgian Saperavi many years ago, I was trying to nail down a unique scent and flavor, and I settled on incense sticks (something I still come across in some Saperavi). I also love the flavor of ocean jetty rocks (yes, I&rsquo;ve tasted them) I sometimes get in great Muscadet (perhaps the world&rsquo;s most oceanic-tasting wine).</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Isaac James Baker</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Reading, Writing &amp; Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>As a writer, I&#39;ve been moving away from tasting notes and focusing more on the total experience, whether it be a visit to a winery, attending an event, or having a meal paired with wine. I write tasting notes more sparingly because wine tasting is subjective and unique to a singular moment in time and place. Food, ambiance, location, and company influence the act of tasting and drinking wine. When I do incorporate tasting notes, I recall Wine &amp; Spirit Education Trust&#39;s Systematic Approach to Tasting&reg; (SAT), but I write in a way that is easily understandable to both beginners and professionals. I describe the aromas and flavors of wine using descriptors with which most people are familiar in everyday life, while I avoid those that are obscure or make no sense to many. Two of the most interesting flavors I have encountered in wine are meatiness in Pinotage and ​the flavor of olives in cool-climate Syrah. As I write tasting notes, I emphasize that my description is solely my impression of the wine that may or may not be the same for anyone else or the next time I taste. It&#39;s rare to recreate the same tasting experience twice. A tasting note is but ​a brief glimpse into my ever-changing, evolving palate.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>​Elizabeth Smith</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Traveling Wine Chick​</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>When I first started making tasting notes on wine, I quickly realized I needed a consistent structure for memorializing my impressions of the wines I tasted. I don&rsquo;t recall where I found it, but to this day I mentally organize my thoughts around the color, aroma, body, taste and finish of a wine. Though the color of a wine may be a tip you of the age and/or condition of the wine, I think it&rsquo;s optional. My primary focus is on describing a wine&rsquo;s aromas, body (including dryness level, the body or &ldquo;weight&rdquo; of the wine, acidity and tannins), taste and finish (the best wines finish last!) For a wine&rsquo;s aromas and flavors I use as many adjectives as possible (e.g. does it smell and taste of fresh or baked cherries or perhaps cherry jam) to flesh out the character of the wine. I prefer straight forward, rather than esoteric wine descriptors because I think that&rsquo;s what the vast majority of wine drinkers relate to. For the body, I think it&rsquo;s important to identify whether the wine is light, medium, of full bodied and to describe its dryness level, acidity and tannins. I like to complete my tasting note by describing the finish of the wine&nbsp; - both how long the taste stays on the palate after the wine is swallowed and whether it tastes spicy, savory, bitter, tart, etc. The key a great tasting note is to find a systematic approach that will enable you to comprehensively capture your impression of the wine on a consistent basis. Find what works for you and practice, practice, practice!&nbsp; Among the more unique and memorable aromas and or flavors I&rsquo;ve captured in my tasting notes have been roasted sunflower seeds, marzipan, and canned peas!</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Martin Redmond</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>ENOFYLZ Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Writing a great tasting note is an involved task. As a writer, the goal is to accurately describe what you see, smell, &amp; taste, with any personal insight from your overall experience. I have my own set of rules to follow. First, Be honest! Shakespeare said it best: &ldquo;To thine own self be true.&rdquo; My brand relies on my integrity and honesty, so it has to start there. Second, Be helpful. Those who read your wine reviews want to know: Will I like this wine? When might I serve it? So it&rsquo;s incredibly important to try and show which wine drinkers will like a wine, with examples of both the wine&rsquo;s profile and possible food pairings. Third, Know your audience and speak their language. The general public does not care for WSET nomenclature, and I have learned the hard way to turn it down a notch. Use terms that are more comfortable. The oenophiles will adore reading &ldquo;medium acidity, notes of petroleum and a hint of cat urine&rdquo;, but those phrases will (and have) freaked out come of my dedicated readers, and they WILL let you know it!&nbsp; Fourth, let your passion flow. If you love something about a wine, share it! That will convince your audience to step out of their comfort zone and try something new.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>&ldquo;Where the heck did you learn to taste that?&rdquo; I&rsquo;ve been asked about some of the most unusual flavor descriptors: barnyard (you can&rsquo;t miss it when it&rsquo;s there), eucalyptus, lychee, burnt sugar (from an 1853 madeira), and sauvignon blanc&rsquo;s worst possible side effect, the dreaded aroma of cat urine. But more than any of these, I get the strangest looks and questions from group tasting when I use geologic and mineral identifiers, such as limestone, clay, slate, granite, sand, flint, &amp; shale. Most of these I can thank my high school and college geology classes for teaching me, and others I learned over time by tasting terroir, as farmers and winemakers do. Growing up in Atlanta, Ga, I learned the taste of several different types of clay just the same way one learns the taste of beach sand- just by playing in it.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jim van Bergen</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>JVB UNCORKED</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>My tasting note varies depending on the wine, or series of wines, that I&rsquo;m talking about&hellip; But if you want to start somewhere, then I would recommend Michael Schuster&rsquo;s Essential Winetasting as a great place to start and constantly refer to as you progress through the years. It&rsquo;s good to get the color, aroma, flavor, structure as well as BLIC (quality assessed by balance, length, intensity, complexity, character, concentration), but as you get those points down you want to form you own style of tasting note. Honestly, I change mine up depending on what the wine inspires in me&hellip; sometimes I write very simple, structured notes&hellip; sometimes they are silly&hellip; sometimes romantic&hellip; sometimes I throw in a reference of how it reminds me of a character in a movie. I don&rsquo;t think I can name the most unique flavors I have ever found in a glass as I taste way too much wine on a weekly basis to just pick the top two or three. So let me tell you about a couple I had recently: Mistinguett Cava Brut Ros&eacute;, made from 100% Trepat, had a distinct note of Rau Ram (Vietnamese coriander) that has a spicy yet lemon blossom note. The second, 2016 Herencia Alt&eacute;s &ldquo;Experimental&rdquo; skin contact, almost orange wine, White Garnacha (Granatxa Blanca) that I tasted in the supposed birth place of the mutation of White Garnacha &ndash; Terra Alta, Catalonia, Spain - it had a unique flavor of sea urchin dusted with cinnamon, which reminded me of a sea urchin dessert I tasted once&hellip; although it may sound odd, it was actually the best dessert I have ever had in my life. Hopefully we will see this new &ldquo;Experimental&rdquo; wine hit the market because it is now on the top of my list for skin contact whites.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cathrine Todd</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dame Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>You catch a scent in the air and it reminds you of someone, something, and you&#39;re transported back to another place and time: Old Spice is the hug from your grandfather; Carnations, fir and cinnamon from your first Winter Formal. The most powerful aromas and flavors are not those that demand attention on their own, but that evoke pictures, sounds, feelings, memories. Anyone can fill out a basic form: Color, Clarity, Fruit, Acidity, Tannins and Finish. Is there a presence of flaws? But those are the tasting notes one quickly forgets -- so I prefer to give the reader something more. Something they can carry with them from one bottle to the next, so they can recognize the grape in a different wine. My first Right Bank Bordeaux reminded me of red velvet rope. Not of the 50 Shades or Janet Jackson variety, but the timeless burgundy velvet stanchion of a grand theater. That is how I pinpoint a Merlot. In a Picpoul de Pinet, it is sunshine and seaside - sur la plage with sounds of gulls, the kiss of the breeze, the cold, crisp splash of the waves along the sand, the sun on my face. Is this wine memorable? Only if its aromas and flavors can transport me to a different time and place.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Amy Corron-Power</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Another Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>For tasting notes, I take a no-nonsense approach. I find many people are off-put by too flowery language. I stay true to WSET standard descriptions of fruit, non-fruit, acid, tannins and finish. Since my focus is food pairing, I&#39;m always careful to include how the wine was with the dish I prepared and some notes on why if it was particularly good or not so successful.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jeff Burrows</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Food Wine Click</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Writing good tasting note is more of an art than science. It is easy to get carried away with the technical terms, which make a lot of sense to the professionals (ponder at &quot;rim variation&quot; or &quot;maderized&quot;) - but this would not help general wine consumers to guess whether they will like the wine or not. My personal approach is to go over color, smell and the taste of wine, and come up with some sort of conclusion whether I like the wine or not. It is important to use the words many people can refer to - of course it doesn&#39;t mean to subside to the &quot;sweet&quot; and &quot;sour&quot;, but it is better to avoid the words which refer to the &quot;things&quot; majority of the people never experienced. For instance, how many people can easily imagine the taste of Lingonberry, Jostaberry or Noni fruit? Or can you describe how bramble (Wikipedia: &quot;In British English, a &quot;bramble&quot; is any rough (usually wild) tangled prickly shrub&quot;) tastes like? So the key to writing a good tasting note is ... keep it simple!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> As far as most unusual flavors, I once used the descriptor &quot;socks&quot; for one of the red wines. Another very unusual one would be a &quot;wet dog&quot;.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Anatoli Levine</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Talk-a-Vino</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Writing a great tasting note about a wine I am reviewing takes a lot more concentration than simply enjoying that glass of wine. What I see, smell and taste in a wine floods my senses. I have to really pay attention to tease out each part of what I experience. Evaluating each wine in the same way every time is essential. It is a skill that takes practice, and one I learned thanks to weekly wine tastings at a local wine shop. That orderly method of evaluating wine was reinforced as I studied for the Society of Wine Educators&rsquo; Certified Specialist of Wine examination. I begin each tasting note with the color (light yellow to ruby for example) and appearance (clear, translucent, dense) of the wine in the glass. Next I describe what I smell, first before swirling the wine in my glass and then after. I try to keep the descriptors as straight-forward as possible. I want them to be meaningful to the reader. Then I move on to the flavors, with the same attention to detail. Along with flavors I describe the weight of the wine in my mouth, the amount of acidity and the amount and type of tannins if present. Finally I describe the length and character of the finish of the wine. Is it short, medium or long? Does the wine finish with flavor or tannins or a combination of both? The flavors and aromas that are often the most interesting in wine are secondary flavors that develop as a result of winemaking decisions and aging in the bottle. I&rsquo;m thinking of the toasty aromas and flavors that develop as a result of aging on the lees, or spice and cedar notes from oak aging and the leather and earthy flavors that develop in red Bordeaux wines with bottle aging. The most unique aroma I remember sensing in a wine is cumin &mdash; in a beautiful bottle of 2012 Storm &quot;Moya&quot; Pinot Noir from South Africa&rsquo;s Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Wine memories, they are the best!</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Nancy Brazil</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Pull That Cork</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>I taste a lot of wine. In the beginning I was intimidated to write a tasting note for fear I would taste something wrong. For the most part I believe people taste what they taste. However, upon embarking on the WSET Level 2 certification I realized there are correct and incorrect wine assessments. Sometimes the &ldquo;correct&rdquo; read on the wine is a nuance. For example, stating a wine has medium- acidity when it actually has high acidity would be considered incorrect. When it comes to naming aromas and flavors in a wine the sky is the limit, almost. It would be incorrect to say a Chardonnay tastes like plums as much as it would be to say a Pinot Noir smells like gardenias. My biggest tasting note pet peeve is when the writer chooses poetry to explain the wine. A poetic tasting note is equivalent to poor driving directions. A tasting note is not the time to try to impress with descriptions that require a thesaurus. I now utilize the WSET Level 3 Systematic Approach to Tasting in order to provide clear insight to the wine consumer what I am experiencing with the wine. I have tasted a few unique flavors but once I taste them I can identify them with some regularity. A few of my favorites are lychee, dreamsicle and probably the most unusual is mercurochrome (a topical antiseptic for minor cuts), in a tasting note I would write it as medicinal.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Michelle Williams</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Rockin Red Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>One of the most distinctive and unique flavors in wine that I have fallen in love with is salinity. I now crave it, which is amazing to me since I am a mountain girl, not a beach fan. It astounds me how the environment can instill itself into the fruit and become such a dominant feature of the wine. Describing aromas and flavors in wine is a difficult task. Just because I smell a specific aroma and taste a particular flavor does not mean that another person will respond to the wine the same way. That is one of the attributes of wine that I love. It is a personal experience. Some flavors are more common and thereby easier to describe in my notes. Others are more unique and difficult to portray. When it comes to tasting notes, I am tenacious on two intertwined beliefs. Everyone&rsquo;s palate is unique and you should drink what you like, not what someone else tells you to drink. I believe, these opinions make my approach to tasting notes a little different. With each new wine poured into my glass, my objective is always the same. I strive to be able to connect with the wine and provide descriptors so that in the future, I, or anyone reading my notes, can create a mental image and envision what it is like to sip and savor that particular wine, not be told whether it is a good wine or not. My goal is to remain consistent with each tasting by following the same format every time I taste. Through the years, admittedly, I have tweaked and revised that format, but as of recently I have settled on a modified WSET Level III tasting sheet. After being introduced to this format at the last Wine Blogger&rsquo;s Conference in Lodi, California, I concluded the design to not only be simple to follow, but readily accepted by many.&nbsp; A complete picture is created by guiding the reviewer through the three main attributes of sight, smell and taste. This allows me, in my opinion, to provide a complete picture of the wine tasting experience.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Lori Budd</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dracaena Wines</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> </p> Fri, 06 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6985 The Real Scoop on Greek Wines Michelle Williams <p>In many ways Greece is the ancient epicenter to modern society. Governmental structures, intellectual gatherings, food and wine celebrations, all stem from Greece. As much a part of historic Greek culture as gods and goddesses is Greek wine. Dating back to approximately the third century BC, evidence suggests wine was an integral part of Greek society.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Today there are over 300 indigenous varieties discovered in Greece. Though the names are unfamiliar and at times a challenge to pronounce do not fear, Greek wines are approachable, pair beautifully with food, and often a good value. Because I am a Greek wine novice, I have solicited the expertise of Evan Turner. Evan is a Sommelier, Beverage Director at Helen Greek Food and Wine Restaurant and Helen Heights Restaurant in Houston, and self-proclaimed &ldquo;Greek food and wine crusader.&rdquo; Not only does Evan know Greek wine inside and out, his passion is infectious.<br /> Here are five Greek grapes you should know. Evan&rsquo;s insight is featured in italics.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Malagousia:</strong> On the brink of extinction, this white grape was &ldquo;rediscovered&rdquo; in the 1970&rsquo;s. Today it is grown throughout Greece and enjoyed as one of the country&rsquo;s most beloved grapes. It is a versatile grape that is crafted using wood and stainless steel, and makes a delicious sweet wine as well. It is vibrant and complex and recognized globally as a first class Greek wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>&ldquo;Malagousia will be the next great white grape to come from Greece. Originally from Northern Greece and brought back from near extinction by genius winemaker Evangelos Gerovassiliou, Malagousia typifies how unique indigenous Greek grapes are. With gorgeous aromatics of tropical and stone fruit laced with a riot of flowers pouring from the glass followed with flavors of pineapple, citrus and peaches with a mineral driven and clean finish. If you love wines that are fuller and richer but want to avoid the oakiness of so many of them, Malagousia is the way to go.&rdquo;</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ktima Gerovassiliou Single Vineyard Malagousia, Epanomi, Greece</strong></a> ($25): 100% Malagousia; pale lemon; medium+ aromas of ripe yellow fruits such as peaches, pineapple, mango, and lemon, jasmine, lime zest, and white pepper spice; palate is crisp and refreshing with mouth-watering tart fruit, pronounced acidity, and a long tart, juicy fruit finish; a great wine to enjoy with a wide variety of foods or just to sip<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Moschofilero:</strong> This highly aromatic dry pink-skinned grape comes from the high plateaus of Mantinia in north-central Peloponnese but today is widely planted throughout the country. It is popular in Greece for its floral aroma, fresh fruit notes, and lively acidity. It is available in still, sparkling, and as a dessert wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>&ldquo;Moschofilero is like a brilliant con artist, they take you for everything you have but do it with such style you still adore them in the end. Largely grown in the Peloponnesos, particularly in its ancestral home of Mantinia, Moschofilero tricks you in the most sexy and wonderful way. On the nose this wine may remind the drinker of Gewurztraminer and even get you to think it is an off-dry wine. On the nose there is an explosion of white flowers like gardenia and lily mingled with cinnamon, clove and other sweet baking spices. Then on the palate comes the switch: Racy and clean with lively lemon, tangerine and lime flavors with a bright dry finish that makes it a fantastic summer white. Positive to make one smile with every sip.&rdquo;</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>NV Ktima Tselepos Amalia Brut, Peloponnese, Greece</strong></a> ($28): 100% Moschofilero; pale gold, medium aromas of fresh rose petals, citrus, ripe green apple, minerality, honey, and toast; light yet persistent bubbles, lively on the palate, medium+ acidity with loads of tart fruit, long refreshing finish; a crowd pleaser, perfect as an aperitif with charcuterie<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Savatiano: </strong>This white wine grape has a checkered past. It is indigenous to the Attica region but today is widely planted across Greece. For many decades it was one of Greece&rsquo;s dominant white varieties; however, it fell out of favor in lieu of more aromatic varieties. Today it is back in favor and, thanks to modern winemaking techniques, stealing the show.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>&ldquo;Oh Savatiano, you poor thing. Long used to make the maligned (and misunderstood) retsina, finally Savatiano is getting its shot, and in the words of &lsquo;Hamilton&rsquo; it is not going to waste it. If you are fan of crisp, clean Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley in France, I have your wine right here. Savatiano is all about mineral flavors and citrus. Imagine eating a citrus salad by a rushing mountain stream, the flavors of wet rock and lemons, limes and oranges fill your mouth while a beautiful hint of pine forest wafts by. Savatiano ages beautifully, may be one of the best wines to pair with seafood of all time and will make you look more hip drinking it than a Williamsburg barista.&rdquo;</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2013 Domaine Papagiannakos Vareli Markopoulo Savatiano, Attica, Greece</strong></a> ($17): 100% Savatiano; medium- lemon with straw hues; medium+ aromas of stone fruit, citrus zest, lemon curd, jasmine, subtle spice notes, and trailing vanilla; rich and elegant on the palate, a silky medium+ body wine with depth and texture, medium+ acidity hits mid and back palate to finish a luxurious sip with a long tart pucker; 24 hour skin contact maceration along with 10 day stainless steel followed by 12 days in new French oak, add a depth to this wine that is very pleasing.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Agiorgitiko: </strong>This noble red grape grown in Nemea region in Peloponnese is shrouded in mystery. Legend has it this rich complex wine tastes so dark because the vines were stained with the blood of the lion killed by Hercules. It is the most widely planted red grape in Greece. It is bold with complex aromas and flavors, medium tannins and high acidity.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>&ldquo;Wines made from Agiorgitiko are what you give your friend who thinks Bordeaux is the end all and be all of wines. In many cases Agiorgitiko is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to make outstanding red blends to rival the world&rsquo;s best. Grown on mountainside vineyards that are in many cases over 3000 feet in elevation throughout the ancient lands of the Peloponnesos, Agiorgitiko is all about wild black fruit like cherries, blackberries and currants. It has a glorious dustiness about it, like walking down a dry Texas farm road and because Greek winemakers do not overly oak their reds, you do not feel like you are drinking vanilla cedar tea with every sip. Cooking lamb in any possible manner? Here is your wine.&rdquo;</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2014 Tselepos &lsquo;Driopi&rsquo; Classic, Nemea, Greece</strong></a> ($19): 100% Agiorgitiko; medium+ ruby; pronounced aromas of dried and baked cherries, blackberries, plums, pomegranate, dried violets, blackcurrant leaf, lavender, dill, sweet baking spice, juniper, fresh sweet tobacco, vanilla; layers of aromas follow through on the palate, ripe and juicy with balanced earthiness; medium+ body, medium tannins with high acidity, playful yet delivers with intensity, long, juicy fruit finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Xinomavro: </strong>This red grape&rsquo;s name comes from two words meaning &ldquo;sour&rdquo; and &ldquo;black.&rdquo; Its finicky nature for proper growing conditions is rivaled by Pinot Noir. This red wine is often light in color with an array of characteristics ranging from floral, olive, tomatoes, and smoke. It has high acidity and tannins that benefit from oak aging.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Xinomavro is my favorite red grape from Greece. Period. Anyone who disagrees with me may step outside to discuss it further. Ok, ok, I have more to say about it. Xinomavro literally means &quot;acid-black&quot; and these wines age with grace and style, pair brilliantly with more food than you can imagine and have a diversity in style and flavor that is unmatched by nearly every red grape you can think of. Xinomavro gets made into rich, brooding dark fruit packed wines or crafted into wines that will fool you into thinking you are drinking stunning Barbaresco with notes of rose and violet petal mixed with dried cherry and leather. It is even made into some of the best dry sparkling ros&eacute; outside of Champagne. I beg you to not walk but run to your wine shop and get a bottle of Xinomavro.&rdquo;</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2013 Domaine Katsaros Valos, Krania, Greece</strong></a> ($25): 100% Xinomavro grown on the slopes of Mt. Olympus; pale ruby; medium aromas of blackberry, cranberry, pomegranate, black raspberries, dried roses, medicinal notes, dried Greek seasoning, baking spice, green vegetal notes, forest floor, leather, trailing vanilla; medium body yet firm in style, pronounced gripping tannins and high acidity, elegant yet rustic, layers of flavors hit front, mid, and rear palate perfectly, long tart, mouth-puckering finish; when young decant, or consume with food, will age well with proper cellaring.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In a winemaking region as old as Greece there are also many unknown varieties. These are unidentified grapes that exist in a small area or vineyards. The following is an example of a wine crafted from an unknown local varietal cultivated by the winemaker.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>&ldquo;Greece has over 300 indigenous grape varieties, many being discovered or rediscovered daily. Take &quot;Biblinos Oenos&quot; from the brilliant winery Biblia Chora in northeast Greece close to the seaside city of Kavala. Named after a wine traded by the Greeks and Phoenicians and considered the greatest wine of its time, there is a chance that the grape used to make this wine at Biblia Chora is one and the same. When tested, the rediscovered variety was shown to be ancient, had no close Vitis Vinifera relatives and is only from this tiny corner of the world. The wine reminds one of outstanding Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but it is the fact you are drinking history with every sip that makes this wine and honestly all Greek wines truly epic.&rdquo;</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Ktima Biblia Chora Biblinos Oenos, Pangeon, Greece</strong></a> ($35): This wine was crafted of a 100% un-named local varietal, a true ancient grape field blend; deep ruby; medium- aromas of fresh red and black fruit, black pepper, dusty earth, minerality, and a faint trail of pleasing charred oak; a well-balanced wine with medium acidity, tannins, body, and finish; elegant yet rustically earthy and approachable at the same time.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Although the grapes are unfamiliar, these Greek wines are highly approachable and deliver a tasting experience that feels comfortable. Furthermore, they come with agreeable price tags, allowing room for experimentation and discovery without a hit to the wallet. But don&rsquo;t take my word for it. As the expert, Evan has the final word on why you should get to know Greek wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>&ldquo;Let us be honest, Greek wines are difficult to find and the names of the grapes positively brutal to pronounce. (If I hear one more &quot;It&#39;s all Greek to me&rdquo; joke....) However Greek wines will positively floor you when you first try them. They are absolutely incredible wines to pair with food. Greeks still hold dear the time honored tradition that wine and food go hand in hand and their wine making style reflects that. Greek wines typically are lower in alcohol than other wines around the world, mainly because they do not add sugar as many winemakers do in an effort to make bigger and bigger wines. In the case of whites, Greek wines have a bit more acidity and in the case of reds, more tannins. This makes them great with a wide range of dishes, Greek and non-Greek alike. Finally, Greek wines see far less oak on average and that further helps them be so affable to food. Be an intrepid wine drinker and seek out Greek wines, regardless of the season, occasion or the food you are having they will go perfectly. Plus, how often will you get a chance to drink wines that Aristotle and Homer (not Simpson) wrote about and drank themselves? Yiamas!&rdquo;</em></p> Fri, 29 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6983 A Stroll through Burgundy John Downes <p>You know the scene. He walks into the wine bar, orders a glass of Macon Villages and spends the next half hour telling you he&#39;s an expert on Burgundy. Well, don&#39;t believe him, Burgundy&#39;s hallowed vineyards hold mysteries far beyond mere mortal&#39;s understanding. That said, the code to this magical region is there to be cracked! There&#39;s no better way to discover &#39;le difference&#39; than to walk through the Cote de Beaune, the Cote de Nuits&#39; partner in the fabled Cote D&#39;Or, (the Golden Slopes) past some of the most evocative village names in the world.&nbsp; Join me on a stroll from Aloxe-Corton to Chorey-les-Beaune. Incredibly, we&rsquo;ll be walking through some of the world&#39;s most expensive real estate!<br /> Burgundy&rsquo;s myriad villages, vineyards, microclimates, soils, grand crus, premier crus, and winemakers not only send heads spinning, they send scepticism racing. I remember my early visits when I pooh-poohed differences in vineyard plots only metres apart, &#39;&#39;don&#39;t tell me that one side of the wall is Grand Cru and the other side has a common or garden appellation. Pull the other one&#39;&#39;. I was wrong.&nbsp; Time and an open mind have since taken me on a fascinating voyage of discovery.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Not all things Burgundian are complicated. Talking grapes, in the Cotes de Beaune it&#39;s simply Chardonnay for the whites and Pinot Noir for the reds but, when it comes to the appellations, (the names and pecking order of the wines), things aren&#39;t so straightforward. Mind you, it&#39;s certainly not as complicated as many would have us believe.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Travelling south along the N74 with the &#39;golden slopes&#39; sweeping away gently to the right, the quiet village of Aloxe Corton with its colourfully tiled roofs, gracious chateau, and elegantly spired church takes the eye. It heralds the Cote de Beaune.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The famous saddle-shaped hill of Corton rises above the village and nowhere in Burgundy is the key to the code or the concept of &#39;terroir&#39; better demonstrated.&nbsp; Just one taste of the wines from different plots dotted around the hill&#39;s slopes will convince the grumpiest sceptic that it&#39;s all about location, location, location.&nbsp; Around the village, the best climats of Aloxe soak up the sun throughout long lazy ripening days, whilst just around the corner in Pernand-Vergelesses, poorer expositions on the same hill give lighter wines that are only a shadow of their famous neighbour.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Above the village and below a top hat of trees the Corton hill slopes steeply, clearly exposing her beneficial limestone outcrops, perfect for Chardonnay to produce Aloxe&#39;s famous wine, the powerfully elegant Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne. More clay outcrops in the middle slopes provide perfect terrain for the flirtatious Pinot Noir, the result being the wonderfully rich Corton, incredibly the only red Grand Cru in the Cote de Beaune. Where and why Chardonnay vines end and Pinot begins on the magical slope is a never-ending talking point but with the Aloxe Grand Cru vineyards having no less than 200 owners, some of whom own just a few vines, knowing the best plots and their winemakers, not to mention your bank manager, is far more critical when it comes to buying a bottle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Barely three kilometres to the west of Aloxe Corton and still lying on its famous hill, Pernand-Vergelesses, lives in the shadow of Aloxe Corton. But this time quite literally! Here, the sun&#39;s rays are blocked by the Corton hill itself sentencing many of the vines to a shady existence for much of the day. There is a brighter side, however, for the best red Premier Crus lie on the flatter, sunnier vineyards further down the slope and these, together with the best limestone rich, sun-blessed Chardonnay plots, can make &#39;P.V.&#39; a happy hunting ground for the determined wine sleuth. Many of the wines are sold under the Cotes de Beaune Villages label which is a pity for many deserve to stand on their own.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Fuelling the Burgundy enigma, a clutch of favourable south-east facing vineyard plots and their wines, belie their origin, including the &#39;white&#39; Grand Cru En Charlemagne parcel which is entitled to use the &#39;Aloxe name&#39; of Corton Charlemagne and further along, a small parcel of Pinot Noir whose &#39;terroir&#39; allows it to take on the prestigious Corton label.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Just around the corner from Aloxe Corton and again lying on the same saddled hill, the vineyards of Ladoix-Serrigny face east but, as with &#39;P.V.&#39;, sadly do not share the same quality exposure. With the soils also changing as you move around the slope, the wines lack the intensity and finesse of Aloxe Corton.&nbsp; But it&#39;s not all bad news, some climats are good enough to be entitled with Aloxe&#39;s priceless Corton and Corton-Charlemagne appellations. Many of Ladoix&#39;s wines are sold under the Cotes de Beaune Villages label which makes Ladoix-Serrigny one of the lesser known communes but thankfully these under rated wines are becoming more visible on our shelves; the name may be difficult to pronounce but they give good pleasure for a good price.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> When the great winemaker in the sky dealt &lsquo;terroir&rsquo;, Chorey-les-Beaune was a little unfortunate. The trouble is, it&#39;s on the wrong side of the road and being off the slope, much of Chorey&#39;s vineyards stand on flatter, damper clay soils. Consequently, the village is often a forgotten enclave. With the nearby village road sign also pointing to Aloxe Corton, it again demonstrates how things can change within a stone&#39;s throw.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It&#39;s not all doom and gloom though down Chorey way as some of the vineyards are on sandier soils where better wines evolve. On a personal note I was lifted by a brace of Chorey reds at a London tasting earlier this year and a white Chorey-les-Beaune at a Burgundy dinner last week was for me, the best wine of the night amongst some impressive labels.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Hope you enjoyed our stroll. Now back to the hotel for a glass of&hellip;..<br /><br /> </p> Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6980 Wines of Substance and Longevity Gabe Sasso <p>If you have any familiarity with Italian wines it&rsquo;s likely that the name Bertani is well known to you. Located around Verona, the Valpolicella region is most famous for Amarone and other wines produced using variations of the passito method. Bertani stands as the best known and most traditional producer of this style of wines. I spent some time in and around Verona earlier this year and came away with a keen appreciation for and understanding of what they do. Bertani utilizes sustainable practices in their vineyards and throughout their operation<br /><br /> <br /><br /> With great wine, everything begins in the vineyard and Bertani fully embraces this philosophy. From selecting the appropriate variety for a block of land to vine training and appropriate pruning methodology every decision is made with the intent of growing the best grapes. Picking choices are incredibly important in any wine and Amarone is no different. Many Amarone producers have shifted to picking grapes that are overripe which leads to wines with higher alcohol, lower acid and lack of proportion. Bertani has remained steadfast in their devotion to crafting wines of balance and finesse, no small feat in a category that naturally has heft, higher alcohol than most dry wines and intrinsic power.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In tasting through the two most recent releases of Bertani Amarone as well as vintages dating back as far as 50 years it&rsquo;s apparent that their house style has maintained consistent in overall intent. Quality, as always, varies based on vintage. But with the selections of Amarone I sampled from Bertani that variation falls within an amazingly narrow window of excellence. Taken as a piece the Bertani Amarones are wines of proportion, focus, depth, gravitas and longevity. This notion was obvious when sampling their wines, but it become even more abundantly clear when the Bertani wines were presented blind alongside a selection of wines by their peers. In each flight the remarkable grace, precision and balance of the Bertani wines shone through with stunning clarity.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Bertani produces a number of other wines besides Amarone. Valpolicella and Soave are but two examples. These offerings are intended for everyday drinking and largely don&rsquo;t require aging to reach their full potential. In short the Bertani name on a wine label is an implicit sign that quality is contained therein. <br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Bertani 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico doc</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> After spending seven plus years in large Slavonian oak barrels, the 2008 vintage was bottled in April of 2016. This is their brand new vintage and it&rsquo;s just a baby. However it shows tremendous promise for longevity. Cherry, black Raspberry and plum aromas dominate the nose. Dried dark fruits, tiny bits of balsamic vinegar and a core of spices mark the luxurious palate. Dried plum, kirsch liqueur and hints of dark chocolate are in evidence on the solid finish. It&rsquo;s tasty now but it&rsquo;ll start coming hitting a really interesting spot in another decade.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Bertani 2007 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Doc</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> After spending seven years in large Slavonian oak barrels, the 2007 vintage was bottled in September of 2014.Red and black cherries, cinnamon and clove are all prominent aromatics here. The palate is driven by a solid and somewhat intense core of cherry fruit that is underscored by intermingling mineral notes. Bits of sweet, dark chocolate and hints of earth are evident on persistent finish. Firm acid keeps things refreshing and balanced. An extraordinarily long life ahead is in store for the 2007 Bertani Amarone.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Bertani 1981 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Superiore</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The 1981 was bottled in 1991 after a decade in barrel. This 36 year old wine is highlighted by an incredible aromatic profile. An intense bouquet of dried black fruits is buttressed by bits of spice and secondary characteristics.&nbsp; It feels light in the mouth but it&rsquo;s deceptively so. There is depth, elegance and complexity to spare here with dried plums, blackberry, hints of vanilla and oodles of spice. Continued dried fruit, tobacco and toasted hazelnut elements are in play on the long finish. This stunning wine has decades of useful life ahead of it.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Bertani 1975 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Superiore doc</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The 1975 vintage was bottle in December of 1986 after 11 years in 100HL Slavonian oak. The incredibly aromatic wine shows off hints of peach and red plum. Tobacco, cigar box, and leather take the lead here with dried plum and cherry notes fading into the background. Hints of toasted nuts leas the finish and are joined by a horn-o-plenty of spices that come together to bring it home. Firm acid lends to the mouthwatering nature here. While this offering is the least impressive of the quintet, at least on the day I tasted it, it&rsquo;s a fascinating and delicious wine nonetheless.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Bertani 1967 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Superiore doc</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> In October of 1985 after spending 17 years in 100HL Slavonian oak the 1967 was bottled. At 50 years old the &rsquo;67 Bertani still shows a vibrant red hue when poured with only tiny hints of brown peeking at the edges. Mushroom, citrus rind and cigar box dominate the aromatics. Bits of wood musk, subtle red fruit and finely ground earth dominate the palate. The finish here is impossibly long, layered and elegant. There isn&rsquo;t a thing here not to love; it&rsquo;s perfection in a bottle. To celebrate the 50th anniversary Bertani has released 6,000 bottles of this masterpiece, grab one if you can.</p> Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6981 The Water and Your Wine Nova McCune Cadamatre MW <p>Galileo once said &ldquo;Wine is water, held together by sunlight.&rdquo; With all the record rainfall that NY has been getting this year, it&rsquo;s been impossible not to think about how water affects wine quality.&nbsp; Too much or too little can significantly impact the way a harvest will develop.&nbsp; Since the largest chemical component of wine is also water, Galileo was not that far off in his estimation.<br /> Nearly all of the main physiological functions of the vine depend on water for healthy growth.&nbsp; During transpiration, which is the breathing mechanism of the vine, water is pulled from the soil by the roots, transported it up the plant through the part of the vascular system (think of it like the blood vessels of a plant) called Xylem, and it is released out through the stomata, which are openings on the undersides of the vine leaves.&nbsp; If one thinks of water as being pulled up through the vine and out the leaves by the air, then one then has the concept of transpiration.&nbsp; This evaporative pull allows the vine to continue pulling water and essential nutrients from the soil for all its main functions. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The effects of water in the vineyard rely specifically on what time of the growing season the surplus or shortage of water occurs.&nbsp; At bud break, the vines have been pruned and are ready to begin a new vintage.&nbsp; At this time, it is important that the vine have enough moisture in the soil to begin the production of leaves and shoots which will soon become large enough to begin the process of transpiration and photosynthesis.&nbsp; During bloom and fruit set, it is still important for the vine to have adequate water supplies from the soil; however, rain can be problematic because it interferes with the pollination of the grape flowers.&nbsp; While domesticated grapevines do self-pollinate it is important that the calyptera (the tiny cap covering the stamen and pistil of the grape flowers) release and fall off without sticking due to moisture to ensure effective pollination. Rain can inhibit this process and lead to a lower set and higher incidence of shot berries.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Once the berries have set, the next stage of the growing season is the cell division phase during which the grape produces all the cells that will be present in the final berry.&nbsp; This is a critical time to monitor water for the vine grower.&nbsp; Too little water will inhibit the process resulting in fruit that is far more likely to split from too much water later in the season.&nbsp; Conversely, too much water at this point can bring disease pressure from mildews.&nbsp; If not carefully controlled, these mildews can cause damage to the leaves and skins of the grapes which will impact photosynthesis and later impact the color and flavor development of the fruit. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Next comes cell expansion, when the berries get bigger, and veraison, when the berries change color and soften.&nbsp; At this point, it is important to monitor water levels since too much water will burst the rapidly expanding fruit and too little water can be used to control berry size.&nbsp; This is a time where the quality of the final wine is a determining factor since too much or too little water may impact flavor concentration.&nbsp; This point also carries the danger of having too little water for the vine to function properly.&nbsp; This issue can lead to the vine halting photosynthesis, think sugar accumulation, and in turn, the ripening process.&nbsp; If this state continues unchecked, it can mean the loss of the crop or the loss of the entire vine due to water stress.&nbsp; Vines will begin to drop leaves under extreme water stress which will impact the ability to produce sugars even if water returns within the next few days.&nbsp; Sunburn can also present a problem once the leaves shut down as they curl up away from the sun and can expose the fruit skins to direct sunlight in hot weather. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Harvest is the last critical point in the growing season.&nbsp; Too much water during this time can dilute the flavors, sugar, and acids of the fruit leading to a less concentrated wine in the winery.&nbsp; On the other hand, too little water at harvest carries the risk of the grapes beginning to desiccate which causes the sugar to rise rapidly and without warning.&nbsp; Winemakers must quickly decide how much is too much or too little and harvest the fruit before the desired qualities are lost. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It is a delicate balance that wine growers have to walk between too little and too much water.&nbsp; In areas which use irrigation, this is less of a concern because water can be applied as needed.&nbsp; However, in areas which irrigation is not allowed or in vineyards which do not have irrigation one is at the mercy of Mother Nature since water plays such a vital role in the development of wine grapes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Nova Cadamatre is the first female winemaker in the US to achieve the title of Master of Wine and one of only four American winemakers to do so. Currently she resides in the beautiful Finger Lakes of upstate NY with her husband, Brian, and son, Nathaniel. By day she is Director of Winemaking for Canandaigua Winery for whom she makes the 240 Days wines; a Riesling, dry Rose, and Cabernet Franc. By night, she is the owner of Trestle Thirty One, a high end boutique wine brand making age worthy dry Riesling. In 2014, Cadamatre was named to Wine Enthusiast&rsquo;s Top 40 under 40 list and has numerous 90+ scoring wines to her credit. Originally from Greer, South Carolina, Cadamatre began her career in wine after moving to New York to pursue horticulture. As one of the first graduates of Cornell&rsquo;s Viticulture and Enology program in 2006, Nova relocated to California to assume a number of winemaking roles with many iconic wineries including Beringer, Chateau St. Jean, Chateau Souverain, and most recently at Robert Mondavi Winery. There she was the red winemaker focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon from the iconic To Kalon Vineyard. Nova is a WSET Alumni, blogger, wine writer, Ningxia Winemaker Challenge contestant, and is active on social media. Follow her on her blog at <a href=""><strong></strong></a>, on Twitter <a href=""><strong>@NovaCadamatre</strong></a>, on Instagram <a href=""><strong>@nova_cadamatre</strong></a>, and follow her wine brand at <a href=""><strong></strong></a>.</em></p> Fri, 15 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6976 It’s not all about Zinfandel. Snooth Editorial <p>Zinfandel lovers unite in Sonoma&rsquo;s Dry Creek Valley. Eno-tourists are anxious to visit the area known to some as the Zinfandel grape&rsquo;s spiritual home. But please, don&rsquo;t come for the Zinfandel alone.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Dry Creek Valley&rsquo;s small, family owned wineries are a true treat for the eno-tourist looking for unparalleled tasting room experiences. The area is just two miles wide and sixteen miles long, boasting a patchwork of metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rock soils. The roads undulate through densely forested hills among the gorgeous, oftentimes very old vines. The history of winegrowing in the valley dates back to the late 1800s.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Dry Creek Valley is a can&rsquo;t-miss trip on your next spin through Sonoma, even for those who don&rsquo;t adore Zinfandel. A recent Snooth tasting reveals just how many grapes are possible in this special slice of California. Here are some favorites:&nbsp;<br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Quivira Vineyards Fig Tree Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Dry Creek Valley 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Herbal lemon drop and butter cookie aromas with a tart citrus note and some tropical fruits. Focused and citrusy on the palate with bright flavors of sour straw candy, light melon and a hint of mango. Pleasant and crisp with good fruit expression and a zesty spice throughout.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Pedroncelli Dry Rose of Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Smoky, tarry aromas with dark musk and tart mixed berry on the nose. This is a bit green on entry but overdelivers on rich spice and zesty earth, a fruit blend of cranberry, cherry and raspberry and a bold baking spice finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Sbragia Family Vineyards Andolsen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley 2012</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Pleasantly aromatic tea leaf and clay aromas with cherry and mixed berry aromas, black pepper and a hint of violets. Rich, full bodied red fruit palate of red currant, raspberry and cherry, dark chocolate on the mid palate and a creamy texture coming through on the finish supported by a lattice of chewy tannins and medium-bold acidity. Good complexity and ripe fruit with just a touch of fresh herb and baking spice to finish. 90 pts<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Collier Falls Hillside Estate Petite Sirah Dry Creek Valley 2012</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Decadent butter cream and vanilla aromas with oak spice and a light savory note coming through amidst black currant and blackberry fruit. Chewy tannins and herbed fruit on the palate with dried basil and sage leaf framing raspberry, cherry and cranberry fruit. The fruit is delicate and candied but retreats on the finish leaving behind floral notes of earth and chewy tannins.</p> Fri, 15 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6975 The Many Sides of German Wine Alan Tardi <p>This past spring I took my very first wine trip to Germany. Before I took off, I did a bit of homework: There are thirteen regions <em>(Anbaugebiete)</em> for quality wine production in Germany: Ahr, Baden, Franconia, Hessische Bergstrasse, Mittelrhein, Mosel, Nahe, Palatinate, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Saale-Unstrut, Saxony, and W&uuml;rttemberg. Most of these regions are located in the southwestern part of the country and most of them are in some way connected to the Rhine River, which begins in the Swiss Alps to the south and flows northwards across the western side of Germany into and across the Netherlands before emptying into the North Sea. The thirteen regions are further divided into 39 sub-regions or districts called Bereich, and nearly 60% of quality wine production takes place in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate where 6 of the 13 regions are located. From here it gets a bit more complicated but hang in there because this is important information that will give you a good handle on getting to know German wine.<br /> In Germany, &ldquo;quality wine,&rdquo; usually refers to a category known as <strong>Pr&auml;dikatswein</strong>, as opposed to Landwein and Taffelwein, which are simpler wines intended almost exclusively for local consumption. The official regulations, implemented in 1971 and slightly revamped in 2007, consist of six basic categories based on the ripeness (sugar content) of the grapes at harvest, as measured by the weight of the juice: <strong>Kabinett </strong>has the lowest density or ripeness of grapes (though they are still fully ripe); then comes <strong>Sp&auml;tlese </strong>(&lsquo;late harvest&rsquo;), <strong>Auslese </strong>(&lsquo;select harvest&rsquo;), <strong>Beerenauslese </strong>(&lsquo;select berry harvest&rsquo;), <strong>Trockenbeerenauslese </strong>(&lsquo;select dry berry harvest&rsquo;), and <strong>Eiswein </strong>(ice wine&rsquo;).<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The really critical thing here is that these categories, which often appear on German wine labels, refer to the ripeness (= sweetness) of the grapes at harvest, as well as the length of time the grapes spend on the vine and when they are harvested, but <em>not necessarily the sweetness in the finished wine</em>. While this might seem counter intuitive and is, in fact, a bit confusing, there&rsquo;s a good reason for it: Because Germany&rsquo;s wine-growing areas are very far north &mdash; some actually go beyond the 50th degree latitude beyond which grapevines cannot generally grow &mdash; it was often difficult to obtain sufficient ripeness in the grapes, so a naturally higher sugar content was the main distinguishing factor between high-quality wine and plonk. More sugar and a longer growing time means more alcohol, more flavor and more aromatic components, but does not necessarily mean a sweet finished wine. (The Pr&auml;dikatswein category prohibits the addition of sugar during fermentation, which is known as chaptalization.)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The last three categories indicate wines from grapes that are harvested extremely late and so are always sweet. Beerenauslese refers to a wine made from grapes that have been affected by an airborne fungus called botrytis cinerea (aka &lsquo;noble rot&rsquo;) which, under the right circumstances, can be a noble thing indeed, causing the grapes to loose moisture before being picked, thus concentrating the sugar and intensity while giving the wine distinctive aromas of honeysuckle, dried apricot, and porcini mushroom, along with more viscosity. Trockenbeerenauslese goes one step further, producing a wine made from botrytis-infected grapes that have almost completely shriveled (the <em>trocken </em>here means &lsquo;dried out&rsquo;) giving the wine even more intensity and sweetness. Ice Wine is made from grapes unaffected by botrytis that have remained on the vine past the first big freeze, which gives them tremendous ripeness and concentration, as well as sweetness. When finally harvested, the frozen clusters are immediately pressed and then fermented, to make a small amount of very concentrated, sweet and complex wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Because these three types of wine are completely dependent on a particular series of climatic events including proper heat and sunlight, ripeness, humidity, ventilation and the timely onset of cooler temperatures, they are made in very small quantities and not in every year.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Though Kabinett originated as a high-quality wine that was kept in a special cabinet, today it is generally a simple, fruit forward low-alcohol wine typically made in an off-dry style (known as Feinherb or Halbtrocken), whereas the &lsquo;late harvest&rsquo; and &lsquo;select late harvest&rsquo; are often as sweet as their names suggest, but not always. This is where it starts to get especially confusing, because it is entirely possible &mdash; and increasingly common &mdash; to find a Sp&auml;tlese or Auselese (or even a Kabinett) made from very ripe grapes in which most of the sugar has been fermented out into a truly dry wine. Often these wines will say &lsquo;Trocken&rdquo; on the label, which must have 9 grams or less of residual sugar per liter. Some bottles destined for export might even have the word &ldquo;Dry&rdquo; on the label, though most will not tell you what the actual amount of sweetness/dryness (as measured in grams of residual sugar per liter) actually is.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> We&rsquo;ll talk a bit more about sugar in a moment, but it is important to remember that residual sugar is not the only significant factor in a wine. Another and perhaps even more critical consideration is precisely where the grapes used to make it come from.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In many Old-World wine areas, there are major differences not only between different growing regions but also between different sub-regions and even individual vineyard sites within the same small area. This is something that the official regulations of 1971 tended to overlook, or at least under-emphasize. And so, in 2012 a private organization of producers called the Verband Deutscher Pr&auml;dikats or <strong>VDP </strong>(which was originally founded in 1910) unveiled its own system of wine categories based on a hierarchy of increasingly specific geographic areas of production that closely resembles the type of system used in Burgundy, France.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Gutswein</strong>, at the base of the VDP pyramid, is a category of good but somewhat generic wines that express the characteristics of an entire region. <strong>Ortswein</strong> indicates wines that come from a specific village. <strong>Erste Lage</strong>, comparable with the Burgundian Premier Cru category, are wines made from a single vineyard site, while <strong>Grosse Lage</strong>, comparable to a Grand Cru, indicates the most renowned single vineyard sites in Germany. A Grosse Lage wine that is fermented dry is known as <strong>Grosse Gewachs</strong> (GG). While it is entirely possible to find sweet wines in a VDP bottle &mdash; which is easy to spot by the stylized eagle and grape cluster insignia on the capsule &mdash; most VDP producers tend to prefer lower levels of sweetness in order to allow the characteristics of the growing area come through.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The VDP is a prestigious organization with very strict standards that its carefully vetted 200-odd members must strictly adhere to. But because non-members are welcome to use its classification system as well (except for the Grosse Gewachs indication, which is reserved exclusively for members), its emphasis on the expression of geographical origin has significantly raised the bar of quality wine production throughout the entire country.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> So far most of this information pertains to winemaking throughout Germany and to all of the permitted grape varieties, of which there are many. But each winegrowing region has its own particular dynamics and so does each grape variety. And my maiden voyage to Deutschland, organized by the non-profit educational organization Wines of Germany, focused on the Nahe and Mosel regions, and, principally, on one grape: Riesling.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Riesling is clearly the country&rsquo;s most important and most representative grape. This is the variety that is most widely planted and the one that best expresses the uniqueness of Germany&rsquo;s different territories and the identity of its winegrowing culture. While it grows in other places in the world (including the Langhe area of Piedmont, Italy and New York&rsquo;s Finger Lakes, which is one of the most promising outside of Germany), there is no doubt that this is the place it truly calls home. The grape is hardy enough to not just survive but thrive in the often extremely cold temperatures and poor rocky soils, soaking up the sunlight during the day and locking extracted nutrients and aromas in during the cool nights. What&rsquo;s more, this variety displays an uncanny ability to balance high residual sugar with bracing acidity, pronounced mineral-driven flavors and distinctively exotic aromas, all with low levels of alcohol. What this means in practical terms is that Riesling has the potential to carry-off a fairly high level of sweetness without seeming overly sweet, while even the driest versions still retain sufficient fruit to round them out. Despite low alcohol and the absence of tannins, Riesling has the potential to evolve positively in the bottle for many years. And it also has an uncanny ability to respond to and encapsulate the particular and sometimes very subtle characteristics of the places where it grows.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It takes just one glance around the Mosel to know that you are in an extraordinary winegrowing area. From its origins in the Vosges Mountains of France, the river heads northward through Luxemburg into Germany (an area known as the Upper Mosel), picks up steam from the Saar and Ruwer Rivers, and, after passing through the city of Trier, gets all squiggly in the middle section known as Mittelmosel or Bernkastel after its most famous city, in some places practically doubling back into itself, before lengthening out in the Lower Mosel and joining the Rhine River at Kolbenz.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Steep vine-covered slopes rise up vertically from the riverbanks sometimes interrupted by rock outcroppings, and the vine-covered areas shift back and forth from one side of the river to another (or both), based the exposition offered by its sharp twists and turns. Conversely, after careening up a curvy narrow road to visit one vineyard site (during which a member of our group got a bad case of car sickness), we looked straight down at the majestic river far below over steep angles &mdash; in some cases nearly 70 degrees steep &mdash; of vineyards clinging to the hill covered with loose dusty topsoil littered with shards of slate.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Slate is the predominant material in the vineyards of the Mosel, especially in the middle section, but there are many different types &mdash; red, blue, Devonian &mdash; as well as other types of stone including Greywacke, a dark sedimentary sandstone with grains of quartz, and clay. This variety of soils, along with other factors like grade, exposition and altitude, make for a multitude of nuances in the wines, even from vineyards within the same area and even when dealing with the same grape variety. In addition to the flavor and aromatic qualities these different types of soils might contribute, the rocks absorb heat from sunlight during the day, which they give off at night, helping to protect the grapes from the harsh nighttime temperatures. Also, it is thought that sunlight reflecting off the river acts as an additional stimulus to the photosynthesis of the vines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Nahe region is located 40 kilometers (25 miles) south along the Nahe River, which runs parallel to the Mosel and empties into the Rhine, though its course is less twisty and about half the length. Like the Mosel, the Nahe region is divided into three parts &mdash; upper, middle (known as Bad Kreuznach, after its biggest town) and lower. Here too the predominant grape variety is Riesling, but other grape varieties like pinot noir (sp&auml;tburgunder), pinot blanc (weissburgunder) and pinto gris (grauburgunder) also do particularly well.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The angles of the hills in the Nahe are a bit less extreme and the altitudes a bit lower than the Mosel. But what makes it really different is the soil. Instead of the predominant slate of the Mosel, here much of the rock is of volcanic origin, either a type of red volcanic stone or a softer greyish porphyritic one called Andesite, often mixed with clay. This, along with its position a bit further south, gives the wines from this area a distinctive spiciness in the nose and a bit more body on the palate.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This trip gave me a quick but intense first real glimpse at a tremendous winegrowing area I had largely overlooked, and there were a number of important takeaways: First of all, not all German wine &mdash; and especially not all Rieslings &mdash; are sweet. And even when there&rsquo;s a wine with a higher amount of residual sweetness than I might generally tolerate, it can be sufficiently balanced by other factors such as minerality and acidity so that the unique characteristics of this great grape variety and fantastic winegrowing areas can come through. If it&rsquo;s really dry you&rsquo;re after, look for a Sp&auml;tlese or Auslese with &lsquo;Trocken&rsquo; on the label and don&rsquo;t let the long names scare you! You can find exceptional terroir-driven (and food friendly) wines here at a very reasonable price.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Here are wines of some producers we visited that are currently available in the US:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Nahe</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Tesch &mdash; Riesling L&ouml;her Berg 2015 (12.5% alcohol by volume)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Beautiful, enticing aroma of ripe fruit and loamy earth with a touch of smokey caramel. When it first hits your palate it feels soft, almost creamy, then blossoms into Key lime pie with a long arc of flavor ending with a friendly lemon pith finish and lingering after taste.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Martin Tesch, current proprietor of his family&rsquo;s winery that was founded in 1723, is a rock star of a wine maker. Part of this might have to do with the rock memorabilia prominently displayed in the winery&rsquo;s tasting room, part of it with the fact that many actual rock stars and others in the music business are his clients, and the rest with his &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t need no education&rdquo; demeanor. (Martin is also a member of a group of German winemakers 35 years and under called &ldquo;<strong><a href="">Generation Riesling</a>&rdquo;</strong> that was founded by the German Wine Institute in 2006. Most of all, his wines rock. Tesch is one of the few wineries we encountered that makes only dry wines, and they&rsquo;re all excellent. Besides L&ouml;her Berg, Tesch makes four other single-vineyard Rieslings plus the winery&rsquo;s flagship &ldquo;<a href=""><strong>Riesling Unplugged</strong></a>.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>D&ouml;nnhoff &mdash;Riesling 2016 Dry Slate &ldquo;Tonschiefer&rdquo; (12% abv)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Citrusy grapefruit peel aroma, with hints of papaya and persimmon. Smooth first palate impression builds to full ripe (but not over-ripe) fruit body framed by tart acidity and dry chalky minerality.<br /><br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> If Martin Tesch is a &lsquo;rockstar,&rsquo; <a href=""><strong>Helmut D&ouml;nnhoff</strong></a> the ambassador emeritus of the Nahe, helping to put the region on the map and exalt the unique characteristics of its terroirs in his wines. And D&ouml;nnhoff makes many different ones from their 25 hectares of vineyard comprised of numerous individual parcels, from bone-dry to fruity sweet. Keep an eye out for the 2016 Riesling Roxheimer H&ouml;llenphad, and three 2016 Grosses Gew&auml;chs &mdash; Dellchen, Hermannsh&ouml;le and Felsenberg &mdash; which should be arriving in the US this fall. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Kruger Rumpf &mdash; 2016 Pinot Noir Ros&eacute;</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Kruger Rumpf makes many excellent Rieslings (and we tasted many of them our very first night of the trip, at a long table on an outdoor patio at a casual restaurant adjacent to the winery run by the Kruger Rumpf family). But the Nahe also makes great pinot noir (sp&auml;tburgunder), and this ros&eacute; is one of them. Palest salmon-pink color. Delicate and appealing aromas of fraises des bois and green plum, with a touch of mowed lawn. Tart cranberry and crabapple flavors balanced by sea salt mineral with a nice clean finish. Perfectly refreshing in the summertime, but this is a ros&eacute; to drink all year round and goes very nicely with food.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> While the family winegrowing activity dates back to 1708, it was <a href=""><strong>Stefan Rumpf </strong></a>who began to focus on producing and bottling wine under their own label in 1984, an endeavor which is now spearheaded by his quietly charismatic redheaded son Georg, our host on this evening, and Georg&rsquo;s brother Phillip. Their mother Cornelia oversees the restaurant operation, including food preparation, and Stefan, who was at an adjacent table with his wife, now appears to greatly enjoy the fruits of both operations.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Keep an eye out for the 2016 Rieslings, especially the Im Pitterberg GG and Dautenpfl&auml;nzer GG, that should be arriving in the US in early fall.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Mosel</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Dr. Loosen &mdash; 2015 Riesling &Uuml;rziger W&uuml;rzgarten Sp&auml;tlese Dry Grosses Gewachs Alte Reben</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Restrained spicy aroma of white pepper and ginger, with hints of wet pebbles, peach pits and dried fig. Medium-full bodied peach cobbler palate with a refreshing dry finish and slight bitter after taste. Made from un-grafted old vines in a great single-vineyard of red volcanic soil.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> With his long curly hair (which seems a bit disheveled even when it&rsquo;s not), round spectacles, and exuberant personality, <a href=""><strong>Ernst Loosen</strong></a> comes across as a sort of mad professor. He is also an engaging and generous person, as well as a great wine maker and perennial traveller, who has done much to help spread the Riesling gospel throughout the world. During our visit with him we got to taste a 2016 &Uuml;rziger W&uuml;rzgarten Sp&auml;tlese against another &Uuml;rziger W&uuml;rzgarten from 1997, offering a tremendous opportunity to see how a Riesling from a top-notch vineyard can evolve over time. Then we moved into an adjacent salon for an exceptional dinner with many great bottles, including an old Pommard from his private cellar.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dr. H. Tanisch</strong></a> <strong>&mdash; 2014 Riesling Sp&auml;tlese Trocken Predikatswein (10.5% abv)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Darker golden-yellow amber color; looks slightly viscous. Aroma of macerated apricots, acacia honey and varnish. Dense but not thick in the mouth, with flavors of bitter orange, dried apricot and cedar, followed by a long lactic finish with a touch of soft porous stone. Tremendous personality in a low-alcohol package. Also, demonstrates the additional layers of complexity a well-made Riesling can take on after a few years of bottle ageing.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler</strong></a> <strong>&mdash; 2014 Riesling Sp&auml;tlese Wehlener Sonnenuhr (9% abv)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Okay, I admit it (just in case you haven&rsquo;t already guessed): I have an aversion to sweet things, and even the driest Riesling has enough fruit for my personal palate preferences. This wine pushes the envelope: after an amazingly alluring aroma of fig clafoutis with a pinch of allspice and white pepper, honey sweetness emerges and you think its going to take over. But it doesn&rsquo;t. Bitter lemon peel acidity kicks in, along with a soft, rounded stoniness, and the three elements merrily play off one another to a long graceful finish. This is a compelling example of how a relatively high amount of residual sugar can be an important component of an exceptional Riesling rather than a dictator.</p> Fri, 08 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6972 Wine Grapes in the Spotlight Snooth Editorial <p>Today we&rsquo;re profiling a wine grape of true substance. It&rsquo;s an undisputed champion of depth in terms of both color and fruit. This grape gives new meaning to the word &ldquo;inky&rdquo; while retaining a grace and acidity that softens the powerful fruit on your palate. The grape is Alicante Bouschet.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Alicante Bouschet was created by Henri Bouschet in mid-1850s France. It&rsquo;s a cross between Garnacha and Petit Bouschet. Known for its fleshy red berries and deep color, just a small amount of Alicante Bouschet in any blend will intensify a wine&rsquo;s hue.<br /> Portugal has demonstrated a knack for this varietal, with a growing emphasis in the Alentejo region. Winemakers have been flocking here for the past few decades, expressing a deep appreciation for the region&rsquo;s rolling countryside and warm, dry summers. These winemakers have demonstrated significant skill with wrangling the notoriously high-yielding Alicante Bouschet. They&rsquo;re showcasing the grape in blends and varietal bottlings alike. The varietal bottlings are truly special, presenting the possibilities of multi-dimensional depth in the absence of overpowering tannins.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Two to try from producers you&rsquo;ll love:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Espor&atilde;o AB Alicante Bouschet 2012</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>A varietal bottling made by rock star Aussie winemaker David Baverstock and Lu&iacute;s Patr&atilde;o.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Herdade dos Grous Moon Harvested Alicante B 2015</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Alentejo is a hot spot for wine travelers from around the world. Herdade dos Grous offers luxurious accommodations AND a great varietal bottling of Alicante Bouschet to pair with your Filet Mignon. &nbsp;</em><br /><br /> </p> Fri, 01 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6971