Snooth - Articles Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Fri, 29 Apr 2016 06:18:32 -0400 Fri, 29 Apr 2016 06:18:32 -0400 Snooth Pressing Issues: Exploring a Small Portion of the Maze of Winemaking Decisions Nova McCune Cadamatre <p>To press or not to press? That is NOT the question. Rarely does anything in winemaking have an absolute however pressing is one of the few. Grapes must be pressed at some point in the process to release the juice or wine. However, even though grapes must eventually be pressed, it is the when, how and how much that are open to interpretation. What seems deceptively simple on the surface, when explored, reveals a maze of different combinations and outcomes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> White wines are generally pressed prior to fermentation. When pressing prior to fermentation several things must be considered. If the fruit is in excellent condition, hand-picked, and still intact, whole cluster pressing may be the best option. This can be accomplished quite nicely with a basket press or with a more modern bladder press. The latter has the added benefit of being able to control the amount of oxygen that comes in contact with the juice. In the case of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, this is a critical part of the style. By completely blanketing the press itself and the press pan with dry ice (CO2) the juice can be kept in a reductive state (non-oxidative). This, in turn preserves the high toned thiol compounds (think grapefruit and passion fruit aromas) that define this style post fermentation. The recent rise of orange wines with skin contact during fermentation are the obvious exception to this rule. For these wines, as well as other white wines where some skin contact is desired, it may be better to destem and lightly crush the fruit. This breaks open the berries and allows the skin and juice to mingle together, resulting in additional flavor compounds and tannins from the skins to be released into the juice prior to pressing.<br /><br /> <br /> Red wines are usually pressed during or post fermentation. The timing depends highly on the style of wine that one is trying to create. Earlier pressing during fermentation will minimize tannin extraction and lead to a lighter style with gentle structure while waiting until fermentation has finished will generally result in a fuller bodied, more structured wine. This is, of course, subject to the general characteristics of the grape variety and vineyard. When I was making Cabernet Sauvignon from Lake County, I found that earlier pressing helped control the rather aggressive tannins that the volcanic soils of the area seem to generate. If one can control the tannin extraction throughout the fermentation to allow the wine to go dry on skins without over extracting, the resulting wine ends up being both well-structured and generous without being hard or tough. &nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The decision of how long to allow grapes to sit on their skins prior to pressing is another important one in the pressing process. In more neutral varieties such as Chardonnay, a small amount of skin contact can add extra palate texture and dimension. However, more aromatic varieties, especially Viognier and Gewurztraminer, tend to have higher tannins in the skins so in these cases additional skin contact could bring in bitterness which will then have to be fined out later through PVPP, Gelatin, or Isinglass treatments. For Ros&eacute;, the amount of time the juice spends on skins directly correlates to the depth and intensity of color in the wine as well as the resulting texture on the palate. Depending on the color content (anthocyanin content) of the variety, this time on skins can range from a few hours to a day or more. Red wines which have gone dry on the skins can be pressed immediately or they can be left for extended skin maceration with further integrates the tannins and middle palate texture. Each offers benefits to the final style of the wine but extended skin contact can be somewhat risky since the wine is no longer as protected from spoilage organisms, such as vinegar or lactic acid bacteria, as it was during fermentation. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The pressure at which to press can influence the style of the wine as well as the total volume in terms of wine yield per ton of grapes. In Traditional Method Sparkling wine production pressing is one of the first critical steps in defining the character of the final wine. Particularly in the cases where red grapes such as Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier are being used, the time on skins prior to pressing is of the upmost importance. Grapes must be pressed quickly to avoid color or tannins from bleeding into the juice because these aspects can negatively impact the final wine quality. While bladder presses will generally only go to 2 Bars of pressure, some basket presses will climb up to 5 Bars. On red wines these high pressure press wines can be extremely interesting with oily textures and thickly structured palates. In general, high pressures such as this only represent 1% or less of the yield of a ton of fruit but it can add interesting elements to the total wine when used.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Press cuts are another point of differentiation for wine styles. A press cut is a separation of juice or wine during the pressing process. For wineries with old style screw presses, the option of press cuts does not exist, however wineries with basket presses or more modern bladder or screw presses have the option to take as many cuts as they would like. Many Champagne houses only use the first gentle pressing, called free run juice, and perhaps part of the light press but usually they do not use the heavier pressing juice to minimize undesirable roughness in the juice. The defining points between free run, light press, and heavy press depend highly on the variety, the style of press used, and the desires of the winemaker. They can be based on pressure, time in the cycle, yield, pH, which climbs with increasing pressure, taste, or some combination of these. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> While all wines have been pressed at some point, the differentiation in style and quality comes from the creative combination of the decisions made from the options available. With so many different variables, it is understandable how two winemakers with similar fruit from the same region can make radically different wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Originally from Greer, South Carolina, Nova McCune Cadamatre moved to New York to pursue Horticulture after what began as a research paper on grapevine diseases at SUNY Morrisville turned into a love of wines and vines. Her career started in Pennsylvania where she gained experience with cool climate varietals and traditional method sparkling wine. After moving to the Finger Lakes region of New York she refined her winemaking skills, both as Winemaker&rsquo;s Assistant at the Thirsty Owl Wine Company and as a Viticulture student at Cornell University. After becoming one of the first graduates of Cornell&rsquo;s Viticulture and Enology program in 2006, she moved to California to assume several winemaking roles, gaining diverse experiences in both table and sparkling wines from all areas of California most recently as the red winemaker for Robert Mondavi Winery in the renowned Napa Valley. She has furthered her knowledge through London&rsquo;s Wine and Spirit Education Trust with an Advanced Certificate in 2007, the Diploma gained in 2010, and is currently pursuing the Master of Wine Certification.Currently, Cadamatre lives in the Finger Lakes, NY with her family where she works as a Winemaker and continues her weekly blog at&nbsp;<a href=""><strong></strong></a>.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> </p> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6792 Top Wine Vintages You Need to Know About Snooth Editorial <p>It&rsquo;s not malarkey. Weather conditions have a huge impact on a wine grape&rsquo;s life, and vintage variations underscore the tie between winemaking and Mother Nature&rsquo;s caprice. Just like your home cooked meal hinges on the character of its ingredients, your wine is dictated by the experience of its grapes. While climate, terroir, soil, and je ne sais quoi play large roles, annual weather patterns are a crucial piece of the puzzle &ndash; one that can be unpredictable. Believe the hype, because vintage year makes a phenomenal difference on a number of factors that matter to you as a wine consumer. Beyond taste, vintage year holds sway over price, age-worthiness, and investment potential. Want some insider tips? Here, the web&rsquo;s top wine writers suggest some of the very best vintages from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Make space in your wine fridge and read on to unlock some of the very best vintage years from around the world.<br /> </p> Fri, 22 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6791 Virtual Master Class: Wines of Roussillon Snooth Editorial <p>Think you know everything about wine in France? Think again. Here comes an unheralded region to titillate your palate in brand new ways. Roussillon has been a bastion of Catalan culture since the mid-seventeenth century. The amphitheater-shaped region borders Spain, so it&rsquo;s no wonder the local dialect sounds more like Spanish than French. Cultural fusion in combination with storied winemaking (spanning over two thousand years) have forged Roussillon&rsquo;s exquisite collection of distinct wines in a variety of unique styles. Roussillon wines bring us old, bush-trained vines (the kind that can&rsquo;t be harvested by machinery), diverse terroir (including gneiss, schist, granite and more), an idyllic Mediterranean climate, and incredible value. Due to the region&rsquo;s small size, quality is valued over quantity. Wine Advocate&rsquo;s Jeb Dunnuck named Roussillon&rsquo;s 2013 vintage &ldquo;The King of France&rdquo;, and the region is trending in knowledgeable wine circles worldwide. Earlier this month Snooth hosted a Virtual Master Class with Sommelier and Roussillon expert Caleb Ganzer, during which five top wine writers were invited to taste through a special selection of Roussillon wines while communicating with each other on a virtual platform. Our findings are chronicled in this article. Read on to unpack the potential of Roussillon!<br /> </p> Thu, 21 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6793 The Languedoc's Sparkling Wine Secrets, Revealed John Downes <p>I have a theory. Easy to pronounce and easy to remember names help drive wine sales. Hence, Prosecco, the Italian sparkler has taken our shelves by storm, Picpoul de Pinet, the easy drinking white from the south of France has seen sales sky rocket, and Pinot Grigio has simply rewritten the script. And now, I have an exclusive for Snoothers. The next wine to rock our shelves is Limoux, that&rsquo;s Limoo to you and me. It&rsquo;s easy to say, sounds good and, it tastes good too! Sparkling wine is a popular choice the world over and whilst Blanquette de Limoux has been sitting quietly in our wine shops for years, it&rsquo;s Cremant de Limoux that I&rsquo;m tipping for sparkling stardom. Limoux Chardonnay (non bubbly) is also my hot tip. &ldquo;Where&rsquo;s Limoux?&rdquo;, I hear you say. It&rsquo;s in the Languedoc-Roussillon in the south of France, the region that&rsquo;s set between the steep slopes of the Pyrenees, the foothills of the Cevennes, the Mediterranean coast and the mighty River Rhone.<br /> The vineyards therefore benefit from a diversity of soils, climates and altitudes. Located around the town of Limoux, (surprise, surprise), the vineyards are not a million miles from the must-see town of Carcassonne and sitting in the Pyrenean foothills are higher and cooler than those of any other Languedoc-Roussillon appellation. The result is a wine that&rsquo;s light in colour and weight on the palate with crisp mouthwatering acidity; just right for sparkling wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The difference between Blanquette de Limoux and Cremant de Limoux? Traditional Blanquette de Limoux can be made from three grapes; Mauzac, the local variety which must constitute at least 90% of the wine, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. Blanquette is the local name for Mauzac, meaning &ldquo;little white one&rdquo;, a reference to the underside of the leaves getting a white downy underside and not to the size of the grape itself&hellip;.a question coming to a pub quiz near you!&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Getting slightly technical, the grape varieties are vinified separately before blending and bottling. Then, similar to Champagne, a little sugar and a touch of yeast is added to produce a second fermentation in the bottle, resulting in a little more alcohol and carbon dioxide gas which, not being able to escape the sealed bottle becomes an integral part of the wine. Presto, we have a sparkling wine that, if it&rsquo;s made in the Limoux region from authorized grapes, can carry the name &lsquo;Blanquette de Limoux&rsquo;.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I tasted Antech&rsquo;s Blanquette de Limoux Brut Nature recently and wow&hellip;.the dry, sharp, fresh, edgy apple flavours with their earthy tones were a bit of a shock for the ol&rsquo; taste buds but it made for a wonderful aperitif and then went on to lift the fish course. Having no added sweetness it can be called &lsquo;Brut Nature&rsquo;; &lsquo;Ultra Brut&rsquo; and &lsquo;Brut Zero&rsquo; are other names for no- sugar sparklers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Cremant de Limoux was introduced in 1990 primarily to allow producers to introduce more Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc into the blend to create more internationally recognized flavors into Limoux bubbly. &lsquo;Cremant&rsquo; must be made from up to 90 percent Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc with Pinot Noir (a red grape but don&rsquo;t forget it has white juice) and/or Mauzac making up the balance. Cremant de Limoux can be white or ros&eacute;.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> At the same tasting, Jean-Claude Mas&rsquo; Cremant de Limoux &lsquo;Prima Perla&rsquo; Brut proved popular. Made from Chardonnay (60%), Chenin Blanc (20%), Pinot Noir (10%) and Mauzac (10%), this crisp, light, apple citrus sparkler will bring a smile to your face. The Prima Perla Rose is also well worth a pour; Chardonnay (70%), Chenin Blanc (20%) and Pinot Noir (10%) get together to produce great color and cracking, fresh summer fruits to get any BBQ hopping.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Talking still (no bubble) wine, Limoux Blanc is traditionally made from Mauzac, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay grapes but it&rsquo;s the latter that&rsquo;s finding fame as a solo artist, thanks to vines that are some of the oldest in the south of France. Non-bubble, Limoux Chardonnay is also now well positioned to become a favourite on our shelves.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I had lunch with Laurent Delaunay of Languedoc winemakers Abbots &amp; Delaunay a while ago when he proudly told me that he comes from a Burgundian winemaking family. I should have guessed; Chardonnay is the link to his Burgundian roots. In the Languedoc he&rsquo;s searched out small, high altitude Limoux plots with the best old knarled vines to produce his Zephyr Chardonnay. The 2012 vintage carries less oak flavors than previous vintages I&rsquo;m pleased to say, and really hits the spot, &ldquo;you can feel the Burgundian in there&rdquo;.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> So, Snooth readers are ahead of the game. Tell your friends that Limoux&rsquo;s the new kid on the block. Sparkling or still, made in the traditional way from classic grape varieties, you can pronounce it, it tastes good and importantly in these challenging times, it doesn&rsquo;t involve a second mortgage. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Looking to buy a Limoux near you? <a href=""><strong>Start here.</strong></a></em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 340 Masters of Wine in the world is a corporate entertainer, speaker, television and radio broadcaster and writer on wine. Check out John&rsquo;s website at &nbsp;<a href=""></a>. Follow him on Twitter <a href="">@JOHNDOWNESMW</a></em></div><br /> </p> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6790 Spring Whites That Deserve the Hype: Rueda Snooth Editorial <p>Call it what you&rsquo;d like: An old routine, a daily pattern, your go-to basics. You&rsquo;re stuck in a rut, and it can happen with your white wine choices, too. It&rsquo;s ok, though, we can get through this together. Shake awake your sleepy palate with value-packed white wines from Rueda in Spain. They&rsquo;re fresh and dazzling &ndash; fruity without going bonkers with remarkable acidity and mineral-spiked goodness. Savvy wine drinkers weary of overpaying for the same old same-old, Rueda Verdejo is your new best friend.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Rueda wine region is part of Spain&rsquo;s beloved Duero Valley. It&rsquo;s a true plateau, measuring eight hundred meters above sea level where searing hot summers force the vines to dig extra deep for a drink of water. No pain no gain is equally true for grapes, and these tough roots go through some serious training in Rueda&rsquo;s terroir. We&rsquo;re talking calcium and magnesium rich soils (which we can thank for all of those mineral flavors), including gravel, stone, and a smattering of hilltop limestone.<br /><br /> <br /> <strong>A Master of Her Trade</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> White wine lovers, take note: Rueda is the white wine that Spaniards most often pour or order, topping all other white wine consumption within the country. Rueda is the only region in Spain to specialize in producing white wines from the Verdejo grape, and since 1994, production has increased ten-fold in order to meet the demands of a thirsty market. Eighty-six percent of grapes grown in the Rueda are Verdejo, along with Viura, Sauvignon Blanc, and Palomino, which are used as faithful blending agents. If you see Rueda D.O. (Denominaci&oacute;n de Origen) on the label, it means that your blend contains at least 85% Verdejo. Oftentimes it will be more. When you see Rueda Verdejo on the label, the blend must contain 100% Verdejo. While most Rueda wines are light and easy-drinking, some producers ferment in barrels and age on lees. That&rsquo;s how fun and versatile the Verdejo grape can be!&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>The Cinderella of Wine Regions</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Though Rueda has been making wine for centuries, it received its matching glass slipper in the early 1970s when accomplished Spanish wine producer Marqu&eacute;s de Riscal sought the perfect place to create crisp, dry white wines. By 1980 the area secured Denominaci&oacute;n de Origen status, and the wines have been growing in popularity ever since. Rueda and Verdejo are inseparable, and the grape&rsquo;s flavor is unlike any other white wine grape in the world. What sets it apart, besides the full-bodied citrus and tropical melon flavors, is what every wine lover (and pairing-seeking foodie) craves: killer acidity that will match a mignonette as well as it will zip right through a rich butter sauce. You&rsquo;ll also find undercurrents of lightly smoked almonds and Brazil nuts wrapped in floral notes. The icing on your glass: These wines consistently overdeliver in the value category, generally falling in the $10-20 range.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>The Court of Opinion</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Rueda wines have devoted supporters not just in Spain, but around the world. Some key quotes from palates that matter:&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>&ldquo;Rueda Verdejo wines are crisp, dry, mineral driven with hints of citrus, like lemon and grapefruit zest, citrus blossoms as well as white peach and pineapple. These wines pair perfectly with a wide range of food such as salads, shellfish, light fish preparations and fruit dishes. For anyone looking to try something new and who usually likes Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, this would be a wine region and varietal to try!&rdquo; &ndash; Alex LaPratt, RyR Sommelier Ambassador, Master Sommelier and Owner of Atrium DUMBO in Brooklyn, NY</em>.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>&ldquo;Rueda possesses the unique ability to provide more than one style of Verdejo. The region produces both fresh, vibrant, and light whites, as well as beautiful Verdejos fermented in oak to provide depth and complexity. Pairing these Rueda wines is easy! Raw or grilled vegetables are PERFECT! Would also consider lighter fish and shellfish.&quot; - Charles Ford, RyR Sommelier Ambassador and Wine Director at The Bristol in Chicago.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>&ldquo;White wine drinkers that like aromatic and bright wines will easily see the beauty of Verdejo.&rdquo; &ndash; Joey Campanella, General Manager and Sommelier, Fork Restaurant in Philadelphia. (Read more <a href=""><strong>here</strong></a>.)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>&ldquo;A lot of what Verdejo offers is concentration. It has thick skin so I like the texture of the wine with our food. There tends to be an acceptance to absorbing flavor as opposed to cutting through it.&rdquo; &ndash; Yana Volfson, Sommelier, Cosme in New York City. (Read more <a href=""><strong>here</strong></a>.)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>&ldquo;Rueda Verdejo has such an amazingly vibrant smell and flavor that make me happy. It&rsquo;s like a field full of butterflies, you have to be really cynical not to smile when you find it. The aromas of lemon, lime, hints of tropical or stone fruit, and the fresh, bracing palate &ndash; but often with more richness than other similarly crisp wines &ndash; make for a really delightful combination.&rdquo; &ndash; Jake Kosseff, Partner, Miller&rsquo;s Guild in Seattle. (Read more <a href=""><strong>here</strong></a>.)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>&nbsp;Pairing Rueda: Do or Don&rsquo;t</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Rueda wines are an ideal mealtime companion, but they pair just as nicely with a couch as they do a dinner table. Doing some grazing during happy hour? Have a glass of Rueda with a dish of almonds, some warm black and green olives, and a few chunks of sharp cheese. When it&rsquo;s time for Sunday brunch, you&rsquo;ll want Rueda to bring out the best in your goat cheese omelet. Starter dishes like fresh tomato salad with balsamic reduction also call for Rueda. And while seafood paella and ratatouille are obvious choices, don&rsquo;t be afraid to experiment with grilled swordfish or spiced lamb. Yum!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>For more information on what sommeliers and chefs are saying about or pairing with Rueda, visit <a href=""><strong></strong></a>.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> </p> Fri, 15 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6787 We Know Where To Find The World’s Best Wines Gabe Sasso <p>ProWein, the annual wine and spirits fair in D&uuml;sseldorf, Germany, is the high water mark for wine brands, regions, and drinkers worldwide. Nearly every wine producing area you&rsquo;ve ever heard of (or not heard of) is represented at this event. The event is so huge that it should have its own postal code. This is one of those rare instances in life where bigger is in fact better. No matter your wine agenda, you&#39;ll have it satisfied at ProWein. I rubbed elbows with some of the best palates of my wine tasting generation, from rock star winemakers to Masters of Wine. Lucky for you, I tasted through a large number of selections and brought back my favorite notes to share. Keep your eyes open for these key bottles, vintages, and regions. ProWein is not your average wine and spirits show. It&rsquo;s THE show, rounding up the world&rsquo;s best wine and spirits. Cheers!<br /> <a href=""><strong>Champagne Drappier Carte D&rsquo;Or 1976</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> <em>When I found out France&rsquo;s Champagne Drappier was commemorating the 40th anniversary of their 1976 vintage release by popping open a couple of bottles, I made a point to be there. Boy, am I glad I did. At 40 years of age this stunning Champagne is one of the single most delicious things I&rsquo;ve tasted in awhile. There is a bit of reduction on the nose which really appeals to the palate. Candied orange zest aromas are in play too. Gentle citrus and a bit of dried pear present on the palate along with oodles of biscuit laden, yeast inflected goodness. The finish is impossibly long and impressive in its depth and precision. I spent three days at ProWein, this was the only thing of which I desperately needed a second pour. Thankfully they were nice enough to oblige.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Graham&rsquo;s Single Harvest Tawny Port 1972</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Most tawny port&rsquo;s are made from a cuvee of various vintages. They often have an age statement of 10, 20, 30 or 40 years, representing the average age of the wine. Occasionally though, a vintage speaks so loudly that it demands to be bottled as a singular expression. Such is the case in Portugal, 1972. The apricot hue shimmers in the glass. Stone fruits such as yellow peach and apricot fill the nose along with bits of toasted pecan. All of those elements continue on the palate alongside a hint of cr&egrave;me brulee, minerals, dried fruit, and wisps of brown sugar dominate the soft and silky finish.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Domeniile Franco-Rom&acirc;ne Feteasca Neagra Terre Precieuse 2011</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Now is the time for Romanian wine. Don&rsquo;t miss out on giving one of these value gems a try. This offering is produced entirely from Fetasca Neagra, a grape indigenous to Romania. Bits of toast and a compote of red fruits lead the nose. Strawberry and cranberry flavors are evident on the palate. Graphite, cinnamon, clove, and wallop of dried red cherry flavors emerge on the long finish. Are you looking for something different to bring over to a friend&rsquo;s home? This food friendly Romanian red should do the trick.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ironstone Reserve Rous Zinfandel 2013</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Nobody does Old Vine Zinfandel quite like Lodi, California. All of the fruit for this wine comes from the namesake vineyard which was planted in 1909. Bay leaf and red clay aromas inform the nose along with a bit of reduced cherry. The palate is stuffed with intermingling red and black fruit flavors; cherries are the star. Earth, cocoa and cinnamon flavors are apparent on the long, lush finish. This Zinfandel has excellent but proportionate intensity and a terrific mouthfeel.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Col Solare Red Mountain Blend 2012</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Two great wine entities have come together to produce one great wine, and it&rsquo;s widely available in the United States. This red blend composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah is produced by a partnership of Chateau Ste. Michelle and the Antinori Family. Tobacco leaf and toast aromas are what dominate the nose alongside subtler red and black plum. Leather and bing cherry notes explode on the palate which shows the hallmarks of pure, unadulterated mountain fruit flavors. Red clay and dried cherry notes are present on the finish along with a final dollop of roasted espresso.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Cono Sur 20 Barrels Sauvignon Blanc 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Sauvignon Blanc is one of the varietals that has helped Chile make its mark. With a host of regions and microclimates in which to grow, the faces of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc are many. The citrus driven nose shows off lemon curd and orange zest alongside a bit of white pepper and a touch of thyme. Tropical fruit, yellow melon, and a drove of citrus flavors drive the rich and layered palate. A bit of cr&egrave;me fraiche and tangerine zest are both in evidence on the long, zippy finish.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vi&ntilde;a Koyle Auma 2010</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Red blends from Chile are always a sure bet. This is a great example. Auma Koyle&rsquo;s Icon wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carm&eacute;n&egrave;re, Syrah, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. In the decade since they launched Cristobal Undurraga and his brothers have made remarkable strides with Vi&ntilde;a Koyle. Auma, the top tier selection in their portfolio, is no exception. Toast, leather and earth notes are all present on the nose. A host of red fruits tinged with black appear on the palate. Chicory, earth, cherry and raspberry flavors are all part of the persistent finish. This is an impressive wine from start to finish, but as with many of the Vi&ntilde;a Koyle offerings what really sets it apart is the remarkable mouthfeel and texture.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vi&ntilde;a William Cole Vineyards &ldquo;Bill&rdquo; Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>In addition to Sauvignon Blanc and red blends, over the last few years Chile has been establishing itself as an expert in Pinot Noir. Bits of forest floor, leather and red fruits are present on the nose here. Hints of savory herb, black tea and more red fruit are present through the layered and somewhat firm palate. Sour red and black fruits and spices mark the above average finish.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Bodegas Fernandez Escudo De Plata Reserva D.O. Jumilla 2011</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Keep an eye out for wines from the trendy Jumilla region in Spain. Candied cherry and a bit of black pepper fill the nose here. From the first sip through the last, oodles of sweet red fruit flavors win the day. Kirsch liqueur, chicory, earth and bits of Mexican vanilla bean are present on the above average finish. Soft tannins and firm acid provide good structure. This wine has a yum factor that makes you want to keep drinking it.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Bodega Numanthia Termanthia 2009</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>This Spanish wine is composed entirely of Tino Toro, a clone of Tempranillo. All of the fruit came from a single vineyard that is over 140 years old. Red violets and leather fill the nose. The incredibly soft, deep, and giving palate is stuffed with red cherry flavors tinged with bits of raspberry. Kirsch liqueur, earth and spices galore are evident throughout the prodigiously long and simply remarkable finish. In short this is an impressive and ridiculously delicious wine that&rsquo;s also quite elegant.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Domdechant Werner&#39;sches Weingut Domdechaney Riesling VDP 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>There are many reasons why Germany is known for its Riesling. This is one of them. White flower and lychee fruit aromas scream from the nose. The super concentrated palate is loaded with a host of dried and fresh stone fruit flavors as well as complementary spices. Bits of mesquite honey, white pepper, and limestone are evident on the remarkably long finish. This is an absolutely stunning example.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Weingut Rebhann Silvaner Spatlese Trocken Steilage 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Alongside Riesling, Silvaner also thrives in Germany. I sampled quite a few examples at ProWein and this one was a favorite. The 2014 vintage represents the first vintage from a vineyard planted to a new clone. The bright nose shows of yellow fruit and a bit of anise. Bits of tangerine zest and white apple rule the palate. White pepper and cardamom are evident on the finish which is crisp and refreshing. This wine has good weight and terrific acidity; in short a killer food wine.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Weingut J. Neus Ingelheim Sp&auml;tburgunder Alte Reben VDP Ortswein 2013</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>If you&rsquo;re still of the mind that Germany is only producing great white wines, this Pinot Noir will quickly change your mind. Strawberry, rhubarb and bits of forest floor emerge from the welcoming nose. Dried cranberries, pomegranate and bits of red cherry are evident on the even keeled and restrained palate. Savory herbs, minerals, and a hint of truffle are present on the long, lingering finish. This is a truly lovely expression of Pinot that I simply didn&rsquo;t want to put down.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Weingut Schneeberger Zweigelt Alte Rebe 2010</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Austria is known for its expertise with the Zweigelt grape, a cross between Blaufr&auml;nkisch and St. Laurent. These Zweigelt vines are more than twenty-five years old. Strawberry-rhubarb pie spices light up the nose here. Red fruits, toast, vanilla and ore are evident on the layered palate. Wisps of earth and lots more spice notes are apparent on the lengthy finish. This is a concentrated and charming example of Zweigelt which will pair beautifully with a plate of beef stroganoff.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Henry&rsquo;s Drive Magnus Shiraz 2012</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Australia knows what to do with the Shiraz grape. This single vineyard wine is produced from fruit sourced from a parcel in Padthaway. Bits of eucalyptus and violets are in evidence on the lovely nose. Blueberry and black raspberry lead the soft and lush palate. Minerals, bits of earth and a dusting of cocoa dot the finish. The mouth-feel on this Shiraz is just stunning. This complex, food friendly Shiraz will age well for a decade plus</em>.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vita Colte Roero Arneis D.O.C.G. 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Mango and dried white fruit aromas explode from the nose of this Arneis from the Roero region in Piemonte. Papaya and stone fruits dominate the palate which shows off a purity of fruit. Zippy acid, subtle spices and a hint of subtle honey are apparent on the finish. While this will pair fabulously with light foods, it&rsquo;s perfect alone. Serve it as a welcome wine when your guests arrive and look for their smile when they take the first si</em>p.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Bodegas Deumayen Trez Reserva Malbec 2011</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Argentina does Malbec justice. Graphite, earth and vanilla dot the welcoming nose. Raspberry and red plum flavors dominate the refined palate, which is studded with ripe but proportionate fruit flavors. The long finish shows dried red fruits, earth, dusty baker&rsquo;s chocolate and pepper. It has excellent structure and will age well for the next 8-10 years.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> </p> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6788 The Next Great Chapter in Your Wine Story: Furmint Claudia Angelillo <p>Searching for a new wine grape to spice things up this spring? We&rsquo;ve got one for you that&rsquo;s just starting to hit in a big way. Shake off your winter blues and start quaffing a wine that&rsquo;s crisp and light, like a wicker basket filled with cut green apples drizzled with honey. Add a squirt of lemon and a small handful of hazelnuts and you&rsquo;ve got your new favorite white wine grape. Maybe she&rsquo;s new to some, but to others she&rsquo;s a very old friend. In fact, she&rsquo;s been around for centuries. She is first mentioned in an ecclesiastical document dated 1611. Today she is grown over 10,000 acres in her home country. She has a few aliases: Mosler (in Austria), Sipon (in Slovenia and northern Croatia), and Zapfner (in Germany). Have you already met? Her name is Furmint, and she hails from Hungary.&nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> You may remember Furmint from your last glass of Tokaji, Hungary&rsquo;s famed sweet wine. As you would suspect, the grape is late-ripening and prone to botrytis. Thus her dry manifestations are all the more special. The careful attention and care that goes into dry Furmint wines afford them a great deal of esteem. Fortunately for you, they are packed with value. Look for a dry Furmint to replace some of the more overhyped and overpriced white grapes and regions. It&rsquo;s hard to find this level of quality in the under $20 to $30 range. Your wallet, and palate, will thank you.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>A few dry to try:&nbsp;</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Beres Estate Furmint 2014 ($19)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> Grassy green lemon notes in the nose with a touch of an oaty note and a whiff of honey. This carries a lot of acidity and zesty citrus peel, is full and fruity, with notes of green melon and a pronounced line note on the finish.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Erzs&eacute;bet Cellar Estate Furmint 2012 ($20)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> Light pineapple and soft melon aromas with lightly floral tangerine notes. Nice green acidity in the mouth and showing some healthy lemon lime notes and a nutty creamy finish.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Holdv&ouml;lgy Hold and Hollo Furmint 2012 ($21)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> Light lemon aromas with a floral hint. Showing soft and mellow acidity in the glass with hints of peach and melon coming through the mid palate and a touch of vanilla coming through on the finish showing a hint of soft oak. There&#39;s a white blossom note as well up front which carries through to the finish.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Degenfeld Zomborka Furmint 2014 ($24)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> Nice steely mineral top note up front with a smooth melon note and some zesty lemon. Peach and melon note with lemon and fresh green grassy quality and refreshing zesty finish of lime.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>And when you&rsquo;re in the mood for something sweet, Furmint is a true champion:&nbsp;</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Basilicus Szamordni Sweet Furmint 2012 ($30)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> Gorgeous clementine and orange blossom aromas feathered with peach and lemon zest. Sweet and light in the mouth, with more orange notes that are further towards marmalade and cream while still having a fair bit of acidity holding up the palate well.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Barta Szamorodni Sweet Furmint 2013 ($47)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> Delicate tangerine and rose petal aromas. Softly sweet and certainly smooth in the mouth, yet lively and full with notes of tangerine, ripe melon and fresh apple, and a long creamy finish dappled with honey.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo courtesy of <a href="">Furmint USA</a>.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> </p> Wed, 06 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6789 Low Alcohol Wines for the Win Snooth Editorial <p>It&rsquo;s happened to us all: You are beguiled by an extremely tasty and easy-drinking wine. Less than ninety minutes later you are three glasses deep, sans supplementary food or drink, and ready to fall fast asleep. When you emerge from your bedroom the next morning feeling a little soft-brained, you check the label on that bottle: 15.8% alcohol! It&rsquo;s no wonder you feel a little loopy this morning. Don&rsquo;t be mistaken -- some of the world&rsquo;s best wines come at a higher proof, but for those networking parties and relaxed Monday nights, consider a lower-alcohol wine; something you can savor for a long period of time, in larger quantities, over the course of an evening, without repercussions. The web&rsquo;s top wine writers are here to help. They&rsquo;ve identified the best very wines under 12.9% ABV. Your extra generous pour is on the way!<br /> </p> Tue, 29 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6783 Wine with Body and Soul from the Heart of Spain ~ Tarantas Tiene Cuerpo y Alma <p>&ldquo;Pure wines capturing the essence of Spain in every glass,&rdquo; Tarantas Wines are made with 100% certified organic grapes. Their commitment to sustainability is backed by third-party certification: Made with 100% USDA Certified Organic Grapes, Non-GMO Project Verified, and Vegan Friendly with no animal byproducts used in production.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The wines are elaborated by winemakers Francisco Galbard&oacute;n&ndash;Professor of Enology at Spain&rsquo;s oldest School of Enology and rising star winemaker Raul Herrero. The Tarantas brand was inspired by the free-flowing, open art form of Flamenco song and dance of the same name, celebrated in Southeast Spain.<br /><br /> <br /> Tarantas Wines are produced by Bodegas Iranzo, based in the old-world village of Requena, only a stone&rsquo;s throw from the historic and metropolitan city of Valencia. Bodegas Iranzo is located in the D.O. Utiel-Requena &ndash; the second largest in Spain. The winery produces some of Spain&rsquo;s Oldest Estate Bottled Wines, with the first recorded written evidence of the vineyard Ca&ntilde;ada Honda Estate owned by the Iranzo Perez&ndash;Duque family dating back to 1335 as granted by King Pedro I of Castilla. Bodegas Iranzo is the only winery in Europe located within a national reserva.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Tarantas Wines include:</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Tarantas Tempranillo Crianza</strong></a>- <em>100% Tempranillo, aged for at least 6 months. Share with friends over a meal - it&rsquo;s a wine that calls for the next bite.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Tarantas Monastrell</strong></a> &ndash;<em>100% Monastrell from Jumilla has a smooth texture, with savory red fruits, soft and round tannins and a pure finish.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Tarantas Sparkling White</strong></a> -<em>Blend of Macabeo &amp; Air&eacute;n grapes creates a wonderfully dry effervescent wine.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Tarantas Sparkling Ros&eacute;</strong></a> &ndash; <em>Soft, dry ros&eacute; with a hint of strawberry. 100% Bobal, one of Spain&rsquo;s most unique grapes.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Tarantas Cava</strong></a> &ndash; <em>Blend of classic Macabeu, Xarel&middot;lo and Parellada. Pair with appetizers, light dinners and dessert.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Tarantas wines, imported to the United States by <a href=""><strong>Natural Merchants, Inc</strong></a>., are available at fine retailers nationwide including <a href=""><strong>Whole Foods Market</strong></a> as national core set wines, and online at <a href=""><strong></strong></a> or <a href=""><strong></strong></a>. For more information visit <a href=""><strong></strong></a>.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Tarantas Wines is searching the nation for recipes that bring out the very best in their organic wines with the <a href=""><strong>Tarantas Taste of Spain Recipe Contest</strong></a>. Wine lovers across America are asked to uncork their creativity and submit an original recipe + wine pairing combination for a chance to Win a Trip for Two to Spain!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Tarantas Taste of Spain Recipe Contest entries are being accepted until April 15 in five categories: 1) Small Plates/Tapas, 2) Main Dish, 3) Side Dish, Soup or Salad, 4) Dessert, 5) Wine-Based Craft Cocktail.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> One Grand Prize winner of the Taste of Spain Recipe Contest receives a five-day, four-night trip for two to Spain, including a private tour of the Tarantas winery with a special lunch, and two nights in the charming village of Requena, as well as a two-night stay in Valencia with food and historical tours of the cosmopolitan city. Four First Prize winners receive a $100 Grocery Store Gift Card.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here to enter now.</strong></a></p> Fri, 25 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6781 Is the wine world shutting you out? John Downes <p>Can you imagine going to a restaurant and ordering food you&rsquo;d never heard of, shelling out for a theatre ticket without having some idea of what the show was about, or choosing a dress you didn&rsquo;t even like? Of course not. But that&rsquo;s what happens when it comes to wine. Sadly, most people haven&rsquo;t a clue what they&rsquo;re buying; the price tag, an attractive label or a dodgy promotion usually sways the deal. Us Snoothers, by definition, know about wine &ndash; we even read about it &ndash; but if you ever have doubts about Joe or Josephine Public&rsquo;s lack of wine knowledge, check out the guys drifting along the wine shelves in your local supermarket gazing aimlessly into a wall of wine.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> All aspects of the wine world must take the blame for making wine so inaccessible. If you ask a soccer fan about &ldquo;4-4-2&rdquo; he&rsquo;ll explain this &lsquo;team formation&rsquo; with gusto but if that same fan asks about wine, chances are he&rsquo;ll walk away totally confused as the vinous door is slammed in his face amidst a torrent of impenetrable, members-only gobbledegook that has changed little in decades.</div><br /> <br /> Criticism often falls at the door of the journalist but the newspaper, online, magazine, television and radio commissioning editors should also take a hit as they&rsquo;re all too often satisfied with new scripts that are not a million miles from those written twenty years ago. The result is that wine is missing out on new consumers who start contemplating suicide at the mention of &lsquo;terroir&rsquo;, malolactic fermentation or yeast autolysis.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As a consequence, we&rsquo;ve seen wine columns and newspapers reduced, and radio and television slots cut drastically over recent years (especially in my home, the UK). Sadly, this stark reality hasn&rsquo;t made the wine world sit up and take notice.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Whilst the wine world has hardly moved, other businesses have moved swiftly with the times. The fashion industry reinvents itself every year and goes out of its way every season to explain the latest lines, colours and cuts; all sold in great looking, customer-friendly shops. The result is that we all rush down to our nearest shopping centre to grab a piece of the latest style, cash in hand. Wine world, please note!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Even professions once seen as &lsquo;establishment&rsquo; are now at the cutting edge. Lawyers, accountants and bankers realised long ago that they had to change to survive. With my corporate speaking hat on I regularly visit prestigious city offices from London to Sydney and I&rsquo;m always impressed how these so called stuffy professions have wised up on in-house media, PR. and marketing to promote themselves and their image, ensuring that their clients keep rolling in and their fees grow even faster. There&rsquo;s no equivalent of a five quid bottle of wine in their world.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Or maybe I&rsquo;m being na&iuml;ve. Maybe it&rsquo;s all a cunning strategy. Confused customers won&rsquo;t question wine quality; quality that&rsquo;s been squeezed bigtime over the years by an average bottle price that&rsquo;s still stuck around the eight dollar (&pound;5.50) mark. When you consider that in the UK, each bottle carries roughly $2.82 (&pound;2 ) of Government Duty and 20% Value Added Tax (VAT), not to mention ever increasing production costs, transport, labeling, the cork and bullish (often over 30 per cent) supermarket profits, it doesn&rsquo;t take a genius to see that there&rsquo;s not much left for the wine out of a fiver. It&rsquo;s pennies, not pounds folks!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> So, after this rant you can imagine how cock-a-hoop I was when I discovered that the advertising legend that is Sir John Hegarty stood up at the Wine and Spirit Trade Association conference in 2014 and tore strips off the wine world: &ldquo;&hellip;the industry is fragmented, confusing and impenetrable&rdquo;, he announced. Oouucchh and hurray. If you don&rsquo;t know who Sir John is, he&rsquo;s the man behind iconic adverts such as Levi 501&rsquo;s launderette advert and Johnny Walker&rsquo;s &lsquo;keep walking&rsquo; campaign. So, he knows what he&rsquo;s talking about when it comes to marketing. He also knows about wine - he has a vineyard in the Languedoc region in the south of France.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Sir John really climbed in, saying that he&rsquo;d never seen such an industry with no brand leaders to shape a coherent message or one where 90% of its consumers do not fully understand quality. &ldquo;The trouble&hellip;is that to the average consumer it&rsquo;s a complete mystery&rdquo;, he concluded. Hegarty&rsquo;s answer to vitalizing the wine world? &ldquo;Lose the mystery, keep the magic&rdquo;. Bravo!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I&rsquo;m trying Sir John&hellip;.honest. Hosting wine events, I know it&rsquo;s possible to see audiences enter with wine-fear trepidation and leave talking freely, openly and intelligently about wine. Okay, my <strong>Become a Wine Expert in 60 Minutes</strong> title maybe tongue in chee, &nbsp;but it&rsquo;s amazing how much you can learn in such a short time -- if as Sir John suggests, you keep it simple, lose the mystery, and polish the magic.<br /><br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> That said, I&rsquo;ve been plugging away for years without scratching the surface. The wine world has hardly changed. But I&rsquo;m still optimistic that one day somebody will change things. In the meantime I&rsquo;ll just keep on truckin&rsquo;. The next stops on my journey? Sydney, Brisbane, Edinburgh and London, with corkscrew in hand and Hegarty&rsquo;s words ringing in my ear.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 340 Masters of Wine in the world and is a speaker, television and radio broadcaster and writer on wine.&nbsp;Check out John&rsquo;s website at &nbsp;<a href=""></a>. Follow him on Twitter <a href="">@JOHNDOWNESMW</a></em></div><br /> </p> Thu, 24 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6782 To Age or Not to Age? That is the Question. Nova McCune Cadamatre <p>When you think of drinking wine at the appropriate age, what picture comes to mind? Usually it is a red wine. Maybe a decanter is involved? It&rsquo;s a special occasion or with friends and family. However, not all wine is designed to age a long time. I have heard so many stories of people saving a bottle of wine that they were given as a gift only to open it at some far later date to be absolutely horrified by what they smelled and tasted in the bottle. I&rsquo;ll tell you a secret. Most wine is not meant to age beyond 1-2 years. However I will also tell you that you can probably figure out what type you are dealing with if you understand a bit about what makes wine appropriate to age.&nbsp;<br /> <b>How Do Wines Age?</b><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Wines age quite a lot like humans do. They go through a youthful phase, the prime of middle age, and the elegant sunset of old age. A youthful wine will still have bright fruit aromas, called primary aromas, and a core color without any browning leaving pure lemon-green in white wines and purple, sometimes blue, hues in red wines on the rim of the wine. Wines in middle age are known as having developing aromas. This is when the primary aromas start to be complemented (or not) by secondary aromas from the winemaking process such as oak spice or toast from lees as well as the beginning of bottle age aromas. The bottle age aromas are called tertiary aromas and usually show up in Cabernet as dried figs, nutty characters, or cedar characters. Each variety has its own tertiary aroma signature as it ages. Wines in middle age often start to show a browning on the rim which translates as gold in white wines or garnet in red wines. Wines coming to the end of their age cycle will be largely defined by their tertiary aromas with the rare exceptions of truly amazing wines which may still hint at the primary fruit of their youth. White wines of this level will likely be quite gold edging towards amber colored while red wines are fully garnet with tawny colored rims. This cycle&rsquo;s timing depends on the wine and its key components which help the aging process. What are these key components? Tannin, acid, and sugar.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <i><b>Tannin</b></i></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> What is tannin? Tannin is an antioxidant compound found naturally in grapes and these compounds are transferred into the wine during the fermentation process. White wines have very little to no tannin which is why it is usually red wines that come to mind when one thinks of long term aging. Tannin naturally protects the wine from oxygen, which as a wine ages becomes more detrimental to wine quality. Wines with high levels of natural tannin are better prepared to withstand these effects of aging. Just like sunscreen protects us from the UV rays of the sun, the tannins protect the wine from oxygen thus slowing its maturation and allowing it to age more slowly. The higher the level of natural tannin, the more intense the protection which is why Cabernet Sauvignon and Nebbiolo age so well. How does this explain how Pinot Noir, a relatively low tannin variety, ages so well? Keep reading&hellip;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <i><b>Acid</b></i></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Like Tannin, acid is a key component of aging. A low pH coming from high acid levels contributes to the microbial stability of a wine. More importantly it also chemically slows the rate which oxidation reactions can occur which continues to decrease with an increasingly lower pH. Thus wines with low pHs age more slowly and have an increased life span than wines with higher pHs if all other components are equal. Low pHs are one of the main reasons that Rieslings and Hunter Valley Semillons age so well in addition to low tannin reds such as Pinot Noir. They are low in tannin but relatively low in pH which allows them to age more slowly.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <i><b>Sugar</b></i></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> High levels of sugar are very helpful to aging. This comes down to osmotic pressure. What is osmotic pressure? Say you have a yeast cell. That yeast cell has a very low level of sugar inside it. Then you put it in an environment that is very high sugar. Cells naturally want to create an equilibrium between the inside and the solution that surrounds them. All the water rushes out of the cell and poof! No more yeast cell. The high level of sugar (plus pH as mentioned above) protects the wine from refermentation. A lack of microbial activity increases a wine&rsquo;s ability to age further. Now when we say high sugar we are not talking about White Zin which usually runs around 26-35 grams per Liter. We are talking 80+ grams per Liter of sugar. For reference, Sodas can run a little over 100 grams per Liter. However, sugar alone will not help a wine. It needs to be sugar plus a low pH on a top quality wine. Think Botrytis affected wines such as Sauternes, Tokaji, or Trockenbeerenauslese. Icewines also benefit from this protection. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Wines at least two of the above three components will have a better chance of long term aging success than wines with only one or none of the above. That being said, the wine needs to be a style which will improve or get more interesting with age. Varieties such as Muscato really benefit from being youthful when consumed so they should be enjoyed while still fresh and fruity. However, if you happen to like the characters of 10 year old Muscat then that&rsquo;s great! &nbsp;Drink wines when you want to enjoy them, in whatever stage of life they may be. Don&rsquo;t wait for the perfect moment when that moment may be now if that is when you want to drink that special bottle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>How old is your oldest bottle of wine? Tell us in the comments.</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Originally from Greer, South Carolina, Nova McCune Cadamatre moved to New York to pursue Horticulture after what began as a research paper on grapevine diseases at SUNY Morrisville turned into a love of wines and vines. Her career started in Pennsylvania where she gained experience with cool climate varietals and traditional method sparkling wine. After moving to the Finger Lakes region of New York she refined her winemaking skills, both as Winemaker&rsquo;s Assistant at the Thirsty Owl Wine Company and as a Viticulture student at Cornell University. After becoming one of the first graduates of Cornell&rsquo;s Viticulture and Enology program in 2006, she moved to California to assume several winemaking roles, gaining diverse experiences in both table and sparkling wines from all areas of California most recently as the red winemaker for Robert Mondavi Winery in the renowned Napa Valley. She has furthered her knowledge through London&rsquo;s Wine and Spirit Education Trust with an Advanced Certificate in 2007, the Diploma gained in 2010, and is currently pursuing the Master of Wine Certification.Currently, Cadamatre lives in the Finger Lakes, NY with her family where she works as a Winemaker and continues her weekly blog at&nbsp;<a href=""><strong></strong></a>.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> </p> Tue, 22 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6779 The World's Most Powerful Tempranillo is from Ribera del Duero Snooth Editorial <p>As the chilly season draws to a close our thoughts drift toward picnics in the park, fire pits at dusk, and sidewalk caf&eacute;s. While there&rsquo;s no reason to banish your red wines at the onset of spring, finding one that&rsquo;s suited to the transition is key. It should be something bold, rugged and ripe with fresh fruit flavors. It should be a red wine grape that is exciting and easy to drink, even for the white wine lover. It&rsquo;s the perfect time for Tempranillo! But there&rsquo;s a catch: you can&rsquo;t drink just any old Tempranillo.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> D.O. Ribera del Duero allows Tempranillo to express its very best self with luscious tannins, dark fruit and rich plum characteristics. The Spanish wine region was home to just nine wineries in 1982, but today there are over two hundred and seventy, and demand has reached a fever pitch. You&rsquo;ll find Ribera on elite restaurant menus and in retail stores around the world. It&rsquo;s also known to pop up at Saturday night dinner parties, urban kickball tournaments and candle-lit anniversary celebrations. Read on to get the scoop on Spain&rsquo;s red-hot red wine region.<br /><br /> <br /> Ribera is sweeping the international wine scene with the help of its trend-driving neighbors in Madrid (located just under 120 miles to the region&rsquo;s south). Paris is to Bordeaux as Madrid is to Ribera: Both are chic European cities that turn to their nearby wine regions for superior quality juice. The life of Tempranillo grapes in Ribera is demanding and extreme. One hundred-plus degree days, summer droughts and sub-zero temperature winters put enormous stress on the vines in Ribera. Don&rsquo;t worry -- this is a good thing, as stressed-out grapes produce the very best wines. Such conditions create structure and character unlike any other Tempranillo in the world.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Ribera Tempranillo is incredibly empathic. The sensitive yet thick-skinned grape is especially skilled at soaking up its terroir&rsquo;s mysterious nuances. Ribera&rsquo;s Tempranillo vineyards stretch along the River Duero. The area is quite hilly, running between 2,400 and 2,900 feet above sea level. You&rsquo;ll find areas checkered with sandy sediment, marl, and chalky limestone. While these wines are generally fruit-forward, the terroir imparts earthy, mineral-rich undertones.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <i><b>The wine glitterati agrees.</b></i><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> It&rsquo;s always worth polling the experts. The wines of Ribera have arrived in the U.S., and they&rsquo;re here to stay. We surveyed some of the most educated wine palates in the United States to hear what they have to say about Ribera:</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Master Sommelier Alex LaPratt of Brooklyn&rsquo;s Atrium DUMBO and Ribera y Rueda brand ambassador:&nbsp;</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>&ldquo;In Ribera, you will find wines with more power than average and tremendous terroir expression. They are very different from Rioja because they have a toe &ndash; and sometimes a foot &ndash; in the New World.&rdquo;&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Charles Ford, Sommelier and Wine Director of The Bristol in Chicago and Ribera y Rueda brand ambassador:</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>&ldquo;Ribera del Duero, and its thousands of years of winemaking, has built a rock-solid reputation for wines that are synonymous with bold and unapologetic flavors. These wines are made for sommeliers and enthusiasts that are seeking to go all the way when it comes to force and power in a wine.&rdquo;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Deborah Hansen, owner of Taberna de Haro in Boston:&nbsp;</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>&ldquo;They are ripe, but not overripe. You still get all that blackberry fruit but with gorgeous tertiary aromas like forest floor, pine needles, baseball glove &ndash; and they age beautifully. I tell Malbec drinkers that I will bring them a wine with full body and complexity, and many Riberas fit this bill.&rdquo;&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Joey Campanella, General Manager and Sommelier at Fork Restaurant in Philadelphia:</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>&ldquo;For red drinkers who like powerful, full bodied and earthy wines&hellip;Ribera del Duero is both familiar and exciting.&rdquo; Read more <a href="">here</a>.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Jake Kossef, partner at Miller&rsquo;s Guild in Seattle:</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>&ldquo;Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero is delicious because it has so many layers and the wines are so substantial, even the reasonably priced ones. The wines are invariably rich, with deep, cherry and dried plum notes, tar and licorice that are often enhanced by sweetness and dark, spicy flavors from oak. And there is a texture to Ribera del Duero wines as well; firm, long tannins that feel very noble in the mouth make it such a great pairing with rich meat dishes.&rdquo; Read more <a href="">here</a>.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <i><b>Take a peek at your menu.</b></i><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Ribera Tempranillo is on wine lists across the country, including some of the New York Times&rsquo; and Los Angeles Times&rsquo; top restaurants of 2015. What to know when you order:&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> If the wine is labeled <strong>Ribera del Duero Denominaci&oacute;n de Origen (DO)</strong>, you will know that it contains at least 75% Tempranillo. Most of the time it will be 100% Tempranillo. Grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, and Garnacha Tinta may also be used. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Sometimes you may see key words on the label or menu to indicate how much time the wine has spent in oak. From the shortest to the longest amount of time, the key words are: Joven, Roble, Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva. Still, some producers opt for basic labeling without this indication, so when in doubt ask the sommelier.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <i><b>Style a sumptuous pair.</b></i><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> What should you pair with your Ribera Tempranillo? Tapas are an obvious choice, especially dishes that are meat-based. Think Croquetas de Jamon (Spanish Ham Croquette), Alb&oacute;ndigas (Meatballs with Sauce), and Pincho Moruno (a spicy meat kebab made with chicken, lamb, or pork). Just about any roast lamb dish should do the trick. While local food with local wine is a timeless choice, sticking with Spanish cuisine isn&rsquo;t necessary. Some sommeliers suggest off-the-beaten-path choices like Green Tomato BLT (with bacon, frisee and pimento cheese), Braised Short Ribs, Jerk Chicken Wings, Gnocchi, and Skirt Steak. Ribera Tempranillo&rsquo;s even-keeled acidity also makes it a great friend to white pizzas or mushroom risotto.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>For more information on what sommeliers and chefs are saying about or pairing with Ribera del Duero, visit <a href=""><strong></strong></a>.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> </div><br /> </div><br /> </div><br /> <br /><br /> </p> Tue, 15 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6777 Be A Smart Bordeaux Wine Shopper Claudia Angelillo <p>You&rsquo;ll know a glass of Bordeaux when you sniff it -- from the pencil shavings of Pauillac to the elderflowers of Pessac-Leognan. Bordeaux is synonymous quality; it&rsquo;s a universal truth of the collective wine consciousness. But while quality is often associated with premium pricing, this doesn&rsquo;t mean you can&rsquo;t find a great bargain in Bordeaux. The region is rife with hidden values. You just need to know where to look. Status symbol Bordeaux has its time and place (think <a href="">Medoc</a>,&nbsp;<a href="">Saint-&Eacute;milion</a>, <a href="">Pomerol</a>, <a href="">Sauternes</a>&nbsp;and more), but you may not wish to break out the $100 wines on pasta night. Fear not, for you can amplify your <a href=";entity=recipe">Fettucine Alfredo&rsquo;s</a> star power with a bottle of value Bordeaux. Your friends are sure to be impressed; from the erudite sommelier, to that party guest who mistakenly refers to <em>Cabernet</em> as <em>Cabaret</em>. No matter how much you actually pay for Bordeaux, the air of sophistication and excellence remains constant.<br /> The Atlantic Ocean feeds Bordeaux&rsquo;s River Gironde, in the northern part of the region. As the water travels south, the river&rsquo;s estuary splits to form the Dordogne and Garonne rivers. The area between the two rivers, known as the <a href=""><strong>Entre-Deux-Mers</strong></a> (&ldquo;Between-Two-Seas&rdquo;), is where you will find many of Bordeaux&rsquo;s hidden treasures. Seventy five percent of all red wines produced with Bordeaux Sup&eacute;rieur&nbsp;on the label are made from grapes grown in Entre-Deux-Mers. It&rsquo;s a bucolic swath of land where old vines abound. In order for Bordeaux Sup&eacute;rieur to appear on the label, wines must be aged for a minimum of nine months, mostly in oak barrels. Many producers age their wines far longer than required. You should consume these wines young; ideally within three to six years of vintage release. You&rsquo;ll see Entre-Deux-Mers on a small number of white wine labels, rendering them a rare and often hard-to-find treat. The names Entre-Deux-Mers and&nbsp;Bordeaux Sup&eacute;rieur&nbsp;are not as famous as their nearby neighbors&nbsp;which gives consumers a huge advantage. Both areas boast the same loamy soils filled with gravel and limestone. Winemakers from higher-profile regions may come to the Entre-Deux-Mers for the opportunity to express more creativity in their craft; such is the benefit of fewer winemaking restrictions.&nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> These wines pair perfectly with casual dinner parties and cozy Netflix bingeing on 20th century French cinema. Here are four bottles for you to consider:&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau de L&rsquo;Aubrade Entre Deux Mers Blanc 2014</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, this is a classic Bordeaux white blend. Sauvignon Blanc in Bordeaux delivers a distinct grassiness with herbal notes that you won&rsquo;t find anywhere else in the world. Semillon, the most widely planted white grape in Bordeaux, brings body and finesse. It starts with austere aromas of lemon and peach with a tart citrus note. Similarly citrusy in the mouth, with lemon pith and grapefruit flavors taking a front seat, some golden berries and more herbal notes of tea leaf and grass toward the finish. Fresh and zesty throughout, it finishes with a bit of mellow cream.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau L&rsquo;Isle Fort Bordeaux Sup&eacute;rieur 2010</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>This is a perfect selection for right bank Bordeaux lovers on a budget. You can find a bottle for under sixteen dollars in the United States. Jancis Robinson, who has extolled&nbsp;<strong>Bordeaux Sup&eacute;rieur&rsquo;s</strong></em><em> virtues in the past, gave this wine 15.5 out of 20 points. It is 58% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes were grown on clay and limestone soils, similar to its esteemed neighbors. This is just gorgeous on the nose with savory notes of dark plum, molasses and brown sugar, with dark blackberry jam, gamey notes of soy sauce and a hint of moist earth. Warm and full bodied in the mouth, this has the perfect interplay of juicy black currant and blackberry with more herbal notes of tobacco leaf, wet hay and spice with clove and cinnamon.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Grand Vin de Reignac Bordeaux Sup&eacute;rieur 2012</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Composed of 75% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Robert Parker has praised Reignac as producers of &ldquo;the best generic Bordeaux ever.&rdquo; Fresh and light aromas of red currant and raspberry show dusty earth and some floral notes. Tart and medium bodied in the mouth with more red fruit notes of cherry, currant and raspberry jam, drying out through the midpalate with ripe tannins and dark earth, finishing with a hint of medicine and vanilla.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau Mirambeau Papin Bordeaux Sup&eacute;rieur 2010</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>This wine is 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon with an average vine age of twenty-five years. It&rsquo;s a right bank Bordeaux lover&rsquo;s value-drenched dream, and still drinking beautifully in 2016. Nicely spiced and oaked, this is herbal and earthy in the glass showing dark black currant and bramble fruit with hints of licorice. Tartly focussed in the palate, it shifts to red fruit flavors of cranberry, raspberry and herbal tones replete with licorice. Includes a pleasant tannic chew. Cream and dark chocolate on a ripe finish.</em></div><br /> </p> Fri, 11 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6774 Change The Way You Consider Champagne Snooth Editorial <p>How big is your wine library? This time we aren&rsquo;t talking about bottles. Here, we are speaking about actual books. While web articles and top ten lists provide a quick and easy way to digest wine knowledge, there exists a panoply of skilled authors who have dedicated their time and talents to unearthing wine magic in long-form, highly researched tomes. And there is no wine more magical than champagne: &ldquo;<em>In victory, one deserves champagne; in defeat, one needs it!</em>&rdquo; In making this sparkling declaration, Napoleon became one of the first individuals to put champagne on the map. He would not be the last. Throughout history, larger-than-life characters - such as La Belle &Eacute;poque&rsquo;s <em>La Goulue</em>, a showgirl who guzzled champagne on the dance floor of &nbsp;the Moulin Rouge, or &ldquo;Champagne Charlie,&rdquo; who is credited with introducing champagne to America - have come to embrace champagne as the epitome of effervescence, the centerpiece of celebration, and the elixir of the luxurious. Join us as we sample a scintillating tract from James Beard Award-winning author Alan Tardi&rsquo;s latest book, <strong>Champagne, Uncorked</strong>.<br /> <em>It&rsquo;s a typical late-autumn day in Champagne. Dampness hangs heavy in the sky, as if it can&rsquo;t decide whether to rain or snow or just sit there, while the pallid sun makes a halfhearted attempt to break through the haze but quickly gives up and crawls back under cover.</em><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>The vineyards that were green and vibrant and crawling with people just a few weeks ago are now mostly deserted, punctuated by the occasional vigneron (winegrower) on a low portable stool getting a jump-start on pruning, while the gnarly bare vines complacently slip into lethargy.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>There&rsquo;s an odd quiet, a pervasive feeling of suspension. A pall has fallen over Champagne like a thick down blanket&mdash;well, most of it.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Walk up boulevard Lundy, away from the center of Reims, and turn right onto a narrow side street called rue Coquebert. Several meters in on the left you come to a maroon gate, opening onto a large rectangular courtyard bordered by a three-sided conglomeration of two-story neoclassical buildings.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>A chain across the entryway keeps trespassers out, and inside, blue-jumpsuited workers roll old barrels from one side of the courtyard into an opening on the other, moving slowly and methodically, as if thinking of lunch or the holidays ahead.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Built into the center of the concrete fa&ccedil;ade under an eave at the far end of the courtyard is a large clock&mdash;the time is 10:54&mdash;and on the second floor, directly under the clock, is a room that looks out onto the courtyard.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>The space inside the room is simple and functional, even a bit bare. The walls and ceiling are a neutral creamy white, and in the center is a large smooth-topped kidney-shaped table with five round sinks built into it, each with its own faucet, waterspout, and drain. A cluster of tall, tapered, clear glass bottles sits in the center of the table. The liquid inside them varies from transparent beige to pale yellow, and each bottle sports a small handwritten label displaying a few letters and numbers.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>The table is surrounded by five tall swivel chairs, three of which are occupied. &nbsp; &nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>This day began like any other: as each arrived at rue Coquebert and traversed the courtyard to their workplaces, there was the usual flurry of air kisses, handshakes, and &ldquo;Salut, &ccedil;a va?&rdquo; with jump-suited workers and colleagues. At around nine o&rsquo;clock they congregated in the coffee closet, as they do most every day, to chat and gossip over an espresso, then went about their business. But it wouldn&rsquo;t be business as usual for long because, despite outward appearances, today is not just any day.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Today is the first tasting of the wines from the most recent harvest of 2013, the beginning of an exhaustive process that will last for months and result in critical decisions that will resonate for many years to come. And, while they might try to feign otherwise, the three young enologists are well aware of it.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>There&rsquo;s a pervasive, barely contained sense of tension and anticipation in the air, as if they&rsquo;ve been dealt a hand of cards in a high-stakes game of poker and can&rsquo;t wait to see what they&rsquo;ve got.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>But they can&rsquo;t look yet. So they sit in silence, swiveling back and forth or staring off into space, each in their own world.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>The recent harvest was not easy, but it got done; the grapes were picked and crushed, the juice fermented, the wines made. And now samples of fifteen of them are sitting in the clear glass bottles on the table.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>The clock ticks steadily on. These quiet minutes are a fulcrum, a luxurious moment of reflection and anticipation, a brief pause at a bend in the long road that lies ahead. In a way, their work is done. In another way, it is just beginning.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>As the big hand inches up to twelve and the smaller hand settles squarely in front of eleven, the door opens and the chef de cave bounces briskly into the room clutching a big black notebook. He says bonjour to no one in particular, slips into his seat, and pauses a moment to look up and around at the three individuals who have suddenly sat up to attention. As he opens the notebook, the corners of his mouth crinkle into the slightest hint of a smile, pen poised in readiness before the blank page. &ldquo;So, shall we begin?&rdquo;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Want to read more? Pre-order Champagne, Uncorked on</strong>&nbsp;<a href=";qid=1457374790&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=champagne+uncorked"><strong>Amazon</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Barnes &amp; Noble</strong></a>, <strong>or</strong> <a href=""><strong>Indie Bound</strong></a>.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Alan Tardi</strong> <em>is a former New York City chef, restaurateur and sommelier. As a freelance journalist, he has written numerous stories about wine and food for publications including The New York Times, Wine &amp; Spirits, Wine Spectator, Food Arts and Decanter. For much of the past decade, Tardi has lived in the village of Castiglione Falletto in the Barolo region of Piedmont, Italy. His previous book, Romancing the Vine: Life, Love and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo, won the James Beard Award for Best Wine and Spirits Book of 2006.</em></div><br /> </p> Tue, 08 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6772 The Best Wine Travel Destinations in the World Snooth Editorial <p>Have you been bitten by the travel bug this winter? While every glass of wine is a journey, wine travel will deliver your wine experiences to new heights. Enotourism is a relatively new travel concept, and it&rsquo;s growing at a rapid pace. According to a 2007 study by the Travel Industry Association, wine tourism exploded during the first decade of the 21st century. Sixty percent of those surveyed expressed interest in food and wine related travel, while seventeen percent (or 27 million people) confirmed wine-related travel at least once during the previous three years. These numbers have surely increased over the past nine years. That said, wine travel opportunities abound in all corners of the globe. Veer off the beaten path this winter and indulge in some enotourism, as recommended by the web&rsquo;s top wine writers.<br /> </p> Fri, 04 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6771 The Montalcino Wine Detective John Downes <p>When I first became interested in wine I used to get Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino mixed up, never mind having difficulty pronouncing them. A few years down the line I&rsquo;d sorted it; both are from the Tuscan town of Montalcino in Central Italy, from the same grape variety, and come in a similar shaped bottle. Or had I? A recent visit told me that I only knew half the story. The attractive hilltop town of Montalcino is 40 kilometres south of Siena and 540 metres above sea level. My illusion that these illustrious vineyards rolled down the town&rsquo;s spectacular hillside slopes to spill over into a limited sweep across the adjacent hills was destroyed when a map in the cobbled town square showed a region that covered an area of 40 kilometres by 40 kilometres! So much for my thoughts of a small, classic Italian region.&nbsp;<br /> For my anorak readers, the total area of vineyard covers approximately 3500 hectares, 2100 hectares being Brunello di Montalcino D.O.C.G. with Rosso di Montalcino D.O.C. accounting for a further 510 hectares. Fifty years ago the vineyard area was only 20 percent of today&rsquo;s expanse as the 1980&rsquo;s heralded an enormous growth. Montalcino now exudes a powerful air of success.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Mediterranean-influenced vineyards are divided into four sub-regions that are known simply as &lsquo;north-east&rsquo;, &lsquo;south-east&rsquo;, &lsquo;north-west&rsquo; and &lsquo;south-west&rsquo;. Not very romantic but hellish effective. The &ldquo;north-east&rsquo; having less sun, gives more acidity and less colour. The &lsquo;south-west&rsquo; enjoys &nbsp;good sun, light and higher temperatures resulting in good colour and lower acidity. The &lsquo;north-west&rsquo; attracts good sunlight to produce &ldquo;a structure similar to the south-west whilst the &lsquo;south-east&rsquo;, stylistically and climatically sits in the middle of the north-east and south-east&rdquo;. With each producer extolling the virtues of their particular compass-zone, once you add altitude, varying soil types and aspect into the equation an interesting discussion is never too far away. My initial, simple view of Montalcino was already in tatters.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Brunello gained D.O.C. status in 1966 and D.O.C.G. status in 1980. I wondered if the region needed a Classification System, maybe a Classico zone? &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not needed as the selection of the best terroirs has already been made with two-thirds of the best vineyards used only for Brunello di Montalcino D.O.C.G.&rdquo;, one winemaker explained. &ldquo;It would be difficult to do a classification now as politics would also play a part&rdquo;, another added realistically.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The production of Brunello di Montalicino wines is controlled by Italian law which states that the grape variety must be hand picked 100% Sangiovese (or Brunello as the locals call it, hence the name), grown in the designated Montalcino region with a maximum yield of 8 tonnes per hectare, (approximately 52 hectolitres/hectare). So far so good. Then came the bit that had me thinking; to gain the title Brunello di Montalcino D.O.C.G. the wine must spend a minimum of 2 years in oak casks followed by a minimum of 4 months in the bottle. I tasted some super Brunello&rsquo;s over my two day visit but, I asked, what happens if a fruit-starved vintage can&rsquo;t handle two years in cask? The answer came back quickly, &ldquo;such wines could be declassified to Rosso di Montalcino D.O.C.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I was in mischievous mood. I wondered. With Brunello often costing about &pound;40 ($60) and Rosso hitting the shelves with a &pound;20 ($30) tag, that&rsquo;s a brave label change. Is that the accountant I see peeping around the door?&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Rosso di Montalcino, which received its D.O.C. in 1984, must be 100% Sangiovese with a yield restricted to 9 tonnes per hectare and can be available for sale on the 1st September the year following the vintage. Importantly, having no oak ageing regulations the winemaker has far more freedom in the cellar; 6 months in barriques is a popular choice for these generally easy drinking, fresh, fruity and earlier maturing wines. Interestingly, my tasting notes revealed several Rosso wines that compared well to some Brunello&rsquo;s whose fruit struggled to handle the compulsory two year oak regime. &lsquo;Just saying.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The key therefore is to know the region&rsquo;s vintages and winemakers before shelling out your hard earned cash. &lsquo;Easier said than done but some producers to look out for are;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="">Biondi-Santi</a>, <a href="">Gianni Brunelli</a>, <a href="">Canalicchio di Sopra</a>, <a href="">Caparzo</a>, <a href="">Case Basse</a>, <a href="">Celestini Pecci</a>, <a href="">Crocedimezzo</a>, <a href="">Fornacina</a>, <a href="">Lisini</a>, <a href="">Mastrojanni</a>, <a href="">Pian dell&rsquo;Orino</a>, <a href="">Il Poggione</a>, <a href="">Poggio di Sotto</a>, Salvioni, <a href="">Salvioni-Cerbaiola</a>, <a href="">San Polino</a>, <a href="">San Polo</a>, <a href="">Terralsole</a> and <a href="">Villa Poggio Salvi</a>.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The all-important vintages? Clock these numbers on the front label;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> 1990, &lsquo;95, &lsquo;97, &lsquo;99, 2000, &lsquo;01, &lsquo;04, &lsquo;05, &lsquo;09 and 2010.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I&rsquo;ve recently tasted some super 2010 Brunello&rsquo;s (rich fruit, fresh, with powerful tannins) by the way; the vintage is destined to become a classic.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Montalcino, Brunello and Rosso are booming. You feel it around every corner, even when you&rsquo;re sipping an espresso with smiling winemakers in the town&rsquo;s sun-dappled square. Oh, and talking coffee, one euro for a cracking espresso &ndash; London please note! Following coffee you have a little thinking to do. After checking your wallet and the vintage, will it be Brunello or Rosso. Could be a difficult decision!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 340 Masters of Wine in the world, is a speaker, television and radio broadcaster and writer on wine. Visit <a href=""><strong></strong></a>.</em></div><br /> </p> Fri, 26 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6767 The Best Italian Wines of the Year Gabe Sasso <p>There&rsquo;s only one source for the best Italian wines in the world: Gambero Rosso. You can think of this publication as Italy&rsquo;s answer to the United States&rsquo; Wine Spectator. Every year, Gambero Rosso puts on a worldwide &ldquo;roadshow&rdquo; known as Tre Biccheri (which means &ldquo;Three Glasses&rdquo; in Italian), to pour their best wines of year. &ldquo;Three Glasses&rdquo; is the magazine&rsquo;s top rating for wine excellence. As I discovered at this year&rsquo;s event in New York City, these wines live up to their title. While the three big red B&rsquo;s of Italy (Barolo, Brunello, and Barbaresco) traditionally receive most of the attention and hype, there is so much more to Italy. From the sparkling wines of Franciacorta and Prosecco, the northern whites of Alto Adige, or the distinct southern reds produced from various local varieties, the choices are practically endless. Read on for my top picks.<br /> When you take more than a cursory look at what&rsquo;s being accomplished in Italy you&rsquo;ll find a stunning level of diversity. In some cases the winemaker&rsquo;s mission is to work with local varieties or classic examples such as Chianti or Vermentino. In other cases they&rsquo;re playing the vanguard role, experimenting with international varieties or blends that are not historically traditional. In all cases they are making wines they want to show off to the rest of the world. In addition to the aforementioned Big B&rsquo;s (Barolo, Brunello, and Barbaresco), I sampled some impressive expressions of Sagrantino, Merlot, and Aglianico. In fact, the Sagrantino wine grape is on a lot of wine drinker&rsquo;s radars. Pay attention to these bottles. But by all means, continue to enjoy the classics. The fun, and oftentimes value, is found in the under-sung varieties. This event is a reminder to Italian wine lovers everywhere about the gorgeous patchwork quilt of delicious colors, flavors and aromas coming out of the big boot. Here are my thoughts on ten wines from throughout my tasting day that stood out, made me take notice, and most importantly, I hope to drink again before long.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ca&rsquo; del Bosco 2006 Franciacorta Dosage Zero Noir Vintage Collection Riserva&nbsp;</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This offering is produced exclusively from Pinot Noir. It has a gorgeous light yellow hue. Bits of restrained yellow fruit, yeast and brioche are all apparent on the gorgeous and remarkably even-keeled palate. White pepper spice and a burst of flaky biscuit appear on the above average finish. This lovely and perfectly dry Sparkler is just a baby. I would hold it for 5 or so years and drink it in the decade that follows.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Villa Sandi Vigna La Rivetta Cartizze DOCG</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This Prosecco is produced entirely from the Glera wine grape. Lemon zest, white flowers and a hint of vanilla bean are present on the nose. On the palate there is a gentle complexity that screams elegance. White fruits such as peach and a hint of apple are evident along with a tiny bite of nutmeg. The finish is long and refreshing with racy acid and a hint of cr&egrave;me fraiche.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Elana Walch 2014 Gew&uuml;rztraminer Kastelaz</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Toasted hazelnuts and lychee fruit dominate the nose here. Apricot and white peach are apparent on the palate but play a secondary role to lychee which simply steals the show here. Lots of spice, bits of honey and continued yellow fruits are in evidence on the long finish. Firm acid keeps everything in check here. This is a stunning example of Gew&uuml;rztraminer.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Tinazzi 2015 Custoza Ca&rsquo; dei Rocchi&nbsp;</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Green apple aromas are prevalent on the nose. From the very first sip, wave after wave of golden delicious apple flavors dominate the notably fresh palate. Baker&rsquo;s spices, baked apple and a gentle wisp of honey mark the crisp finish. This incredibly refreshing wine is just a delight to drink.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ca&rsquo; del Baio 2012 Barbaresco Asili</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Red cherry, plum and hints of black pepper leap from the nose here. An ample bit of raspberry emerges on the palate which is dominated by continued red cherry characteristics. Black tea, minerals and a lovely complement of spices are present on the long finish. Firm tannins and rock solid acid provide excellent structure. There is elegance in this wine which seems to belie its big shouldered structure. However give it a decade and this Barbaresco will be beyond stunning.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Cavalchina 2007 Custoza Superiore Amedeo&nbsp;</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There is deep golden hue to this wine emblematic of the time spent in bottle. Wisps of linseed oil and a bit of pleasing and pungent petrol mark the nose here. From the first sip the depth and character of this offering are on display. Dried apricot and hints of tangerine zest are present. Minerals and spice are in evidence on the long, complex finish. I also sampled the current vintage (2014) of this wine which tastes like it will one day be as complex, layered and intriguing as this offering. If you&rsquo;re looking for a marvelous selection, to geek out over with your wine loving friends, this 2007 wine from the Custoza region is it.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Bel Colle 2011 Barolo Simposio</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Red fruit and leather aromas are strongly evident on the nose here. The palate is stuffed with red cherry and a host of spices. Bits of savory herb make their presence felt as well. Black tea, finely ground earth, cinnamon and a continuing red fruits mark the persistent finish. Firm tannins and zippy acid provide the backbone upon which this Barolo will age effortlessly for the next two decades. Patience will indeed be rewarded.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Scacciadiavoli 2010 Montefalco Sagrantino</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The &ldquo;radar&rdquo; grape of 2016, there&rsquo;s a gorgeous deep, dark color to this Sagrantino. Blackberry and black fig aromas dominate the rich nose. The palate is similarly filled with deep and intense flavors. Plum, black raspberry and more are joined by spices galore. The long finish shows off roasted espresso, earth and bits of kirsch liqueur. The tannins here are big and somewhat brawny. While delicious now this wine needs some additional time in bottle to fully resolve itself. It&rsquo;s a tremendous example of Sagrantino that will only get better.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Allegrini 2011 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Dried mission fig aromas are joined by savory herbs such as sage, thyme and rosemary on the expressive nose. The palate is sweet but restrained with remarkable depth, precision and a nuance not often seen in such a young Amarone. A host of red and black fruits are on display. The finish is long, persistent and spicy with fig, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper. It&rsquo;s still very young and will improve tremendously with time, but at just over 4 years old it&rsquo;s still a pleasure and a revelation to drink.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>La Crotta di Vegneron 2013 Valle d&rsquo;Aosta Chambave Moscato Passito Prieur&eacute;</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A gorgeous deep, yellow hue is striking when this wine hits your glass. Rich, lychee fruit, apricot and toasted almond aromas are all present on the somewhat boisterous nose. The palate is a study in perfect balance as sweetness and acid dance a tango on your tongue in perfect symmetry. White and yellow fruits are joined by spices and bits of mesquite honey. Golden delicious apple and a touch of vanilla appear on the long mellifluous finish. Just glorious on its own this passito-style wine (made from slightly dried grapes) is a tremendous partner for soft, creamy cheese&rsquo;s, including those with a bit of funk.</div><br /> </p> Fri, 19 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6766 Don't Miss Prowein 2016 <p><div><br /> At next year&rsquo;s ProWein, International Trade Fair for Wines and Spirits, over 6,000 exhibitors from 50 nations and more than 50,000 trade visitors from around the globe will be part of the most international, comprehensive and business-oriented wine industry trade fair in the world. All major wine nations and cultivating regions will be represented at ProWein 2016 - the &ldquo;classics&rdquo; from Europe and the New World as well as the more &ldquo;exotic&rdquo; such as Bolivia and Armenia. In addition, over 400 spirits exhibitors from 30 countries will offer classy brandies and liqueurs.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Preparations for ProWein&rsquo;s ancillary program are also in full swing. This includes the tasting sessions, ranging from nationally focused tastings to multi provenance selections as well as the tasting zone of the international wine award MUNDUS VINI. The ProWein Forum will also offer a varied selection of more than 300 themed tastings supplemented by numerous lectures on markets and trends.</div><br /> <br /> After its successful premiere in 2015, the &ldquo;same but different&rdquo; special show will continue in 2016 presenting unique marketing concepts for wine production and marketing from around the world. Wine packaging will be the topic at the &ldquo;Packaging &amp; Design&rdquo; special show. The spirits section at ProWein 2016 will also inspire with innovative creations and for the first time, Mauritius and Korea will take part with new, regional specialties. The demonstrations in the FIZZZ Lounge will focus on the shim cocktail trend.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A new feature at ProWein 2016: for U.S. importers and wholesalers coming to the show, ProWein and Wine Enthusiast have created &ldquo;<a href="">Route USA</a>&rdquo;. The Route will guide visitors from the U.S to those producers who seek to meet them. Producers will have special signage (the Route USA logo) on their booth indicating their interest in finding importing and distribution partners in the United States.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> For importers, distributors, retailers and restaurateurs, ProWein is the must-attend event of the year to get real business done. It is not just the only annual trade fair with the highest share of foreign participants but is an event exclusively for trade visitors. With attendees that are extremely competent, open to new ideas, very international and professional, ProWein is an event by the trade and for the trade.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The full tasting and seminar program at the Forum and at exhibitors&rsquo; stands will be available end of January 2016. The comprehensive ProWein 2016 exhibitor database is already online at <a href=""></a> with daily updates and the online ticket shop is now open.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> To save time and money, order tickets online at <a href=""></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> For more information: Messe D&uuml;sseldorf North America, Tel. (312) 781-5180, <a href=""></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> For accommodations: TTI Travel Inc., at (866) 674-3476;;<a href=""></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 17 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6764 Last Minute Sparkling Wine for Your Valentine’s Day Sweetie Gabe Sasso <p>My quest to uncover wine categories that aren&rsquo;t getting as much love as they deserve continues, and just in time for Valentine&rsquo;s Day. As luck would have it many of the same groups of wine that don&rsquo;t get enough attention also represent terrific values for wine lovers. Too many wines, too little time is one reason that some of these categories are undervalued. Most of us being stuck in a rut or married to old ideas when it comes to some wines is another. In the case of sparkling wine, we as Americans are stuck in a couple of ruts in fact. It&rsquo;s time to break out of them and break open some Cava!<br /> Just about everyone loves sparkling wine of one type or another. Additionally, most great wine making regions produce at least one style of sparkling wine. None is more famous, decorated with awards, and ultimately expensive as Champagne. Of course not every bottle of Champagne has a prohibitive cost, but many do. Other regions of the world that make sparkling wine often do so from either the classic Champagne varieties or indigenous grapes that tend to flourish locally. Prices, styles and quality vary throughout. In the D.O. Cava there are several exciting things happening. There are producers working with both local grapes as well as international wines to craft Cava. The styles, intent and price-points vary but the quality to price ratio is very good, often shockingly in fact. So why is that? There are a myriad of reasons, but one of them is that the average American consumer is simply unfamiliar with Cava. They&rsquo;ve designated Champagne for celebrations, California sparkling wines for brunch and Prosecco for sipping on their porch. They could be drinking Cava in any and all of those situations.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Whenever I drink Cava I&rsquo;m stunned by the quality in the glass for the price on the bottle. So with that in mind I wanted to round up some examples of Cava that I believe should be on all of our short lists for any situation that is suited for sparkling wine. And let&rsquo;s face it: what instance isn&rsquo;t improved with bubbly of one type or another in your glass? I tasted just over two dozen Cava&rsquo;s and came up with five that stand above the others to me. I picked them because they&rsquo;re delicious and well made first and foremost; but also because I think they represent particularly good values. There&rsquo;s no wrong time to drink Cava. These are food friendly wines, so pair them with your favorite meals. And sure, celebrate with them too. But really, let the bottle be the reason for the celebration.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Anna de Codorn&iacute;u Brut Ros&eacute; NV</strong></a> ($14.99)<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This Cava is a blend of Pinot Noir (70%) and Chardonnay (30%). Grapes were fermented separately then blended and put in bottle with the dosage. The wine underwent secondary fermentation in the bottle. Fresh wild strawberry and cherry aromas fill the nose. Red fruits continue through, and dominate the palate. The finish is crisp and clean with hints of watermelon and sour cherry joined by a bit of white pepper. This is an extremely delicious wine that has gentle bits of sweetness interspersed in it. For the price it&rsquo;s an entry level steal. It&rsquo;ll pair well with all sort of light appetizers. I actually tried it with a pizza margherita and it worked remarkably well.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Tarantas D.O. Cava</strong></a> ($15)<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A blend of Macabeu, Xarel-lo and Parellada are pulled together to create this Cava. It&rsquo;s made in the classic method and spends more than 9 months sur lies. 100,000 bottles of this organic wine were produced. The nose is remarkably fresh with lemon zest, apple orchard aromas, and a wisp of sage. The palate shows of continued fresh fruit with orange peel, flaky biscuit and a host of spices. Marzipan, cr&egrave;me fraiche and continued citrus elements are all in play on the above average finish. It&rsquo;s completely different than the prior wine in style, and taste, but equally delicious, and another killer value. Taste these first two side by side to get an inexpensive window into the diversity of Cava.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vallformosa Origen Brut NV</strong></a> ($19.99)<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> All of the fruit was sourced in the Cava D.O. of Penedes Spain. This Cava blends together Xarel-lo (40%), Macabeo (30%), and Parallada (30%). Primary fermentation took place in stainless steel followed by secondary fermentation in bottle using the traditional method. Aging took place over a year. 150,000 6 bottle cases of this Cava were produced. Apple and toasted almond aromas are in heavy evidence on the nose of this Cava. The palate shows off more orchard fruit such as granny smith apple, hints of lemon ice and sufficient acidity to think keeps nice and zippy. The seductively long finish features continued fruit flavors and a gentle kiss of cr&egrave;me fraiche. This is a refreshing wine that is delicious on its own and with a particularly wine range of food. I paired it with &ldquo;40 Garlic Cloves Chicken&rdquo; and roasted potatoes, a classic match.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Gran Codorn&iacute;u Gran Reserva Chardonnay NV</strong></a> ($20)<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> All of the fruit was sourced in the Cava D.O. of Penedes Spain. This wine is entirely Chardonnay. This wine is made using the traditional method. A bevy of orchard fruit aromas are joined by lemon zest and orange peel on the bright and welcoming nose. The palate is refined, gentle and complex. Bits of toast are in play alongside tons of fruit such as apple and apricot to name a couple. Flaky biscuit and spices such as white pepper and clove are part of the lengthy finish. Don&rsquo;t over-chill this gorgeous Cava. As it gets a few degrees warmer than the average whit is served its depth of flavors really pop out. Pair this with anything but extremely big foods for the best matches.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vallformosa Col.leccio Pinot Noir Brut </strong></a>($34.99)<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This Cava is made up entirely of Pinot Noir. The vineyards oldest vineyards are the source for this wine. It&rsquo;s produced using the traditional method and spends roughly 15 months sur-lies. 52,000 6 bottle cases were produced. The light salmon hue is striking when you pour it. Red fruits aromas such as cherry and raspberry are present alongside subtle bits of toasted hazelnut. The palate here has a gentle, almost deceptive complexity to it. Soft red fruits rule the day alongside a hint of vanilla bean. The finish is notably long and persistent. This will pair well with lighter foods, but it&rsquo;s also simply impossible to put down, all by itself. It would be an excellent choice for a special meal.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I strongly recommend each and every one of the wines above. Taken as a piece these wines offer a small peak into the stunning values that are available from Cava. Whether you need a welcome wine for your next party, something interesting to pair with dinner tonight or you want to toast a special occasion, consider Cava, your wallet will retain some weight and your taste buds will be pleased.</div><br /> </p> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6765 Undervalued Wine Categories: Late Bottled Vintage Port Gabe Sasso <p>Port is a category of wine that conjures up different images depending on your experience or taste. The styles and methodologies used to produce, and in particular, age Port are also pretty wide ranging. There are two kinds of Port that are more commonly known and leap to the forefront of people&rsquo;s brains more often than others. One is Tawny Port which is often aged for many years, undergoes gradual oxidation and generally uses an average age statement rather than a specific vintage year. So if a Port bottle says &ldquo;20 year Tawny&rdquo; it means that some of the wine used to make the blend was more than 20 years and some under, but the average is at minimum 20 years. With this style the Port House in question is aiming for a flavor profile.&nbsp;<br /> The Sandeman 20 year Tawny as an example will taste roughly the same if you buy a bottle now or have one from a previous batch. The other, most famous, style of Port is Vintage Port. This is produced from wine from a single vintage. In great years a Port House will determine if they have a great vintage about 16 months after harvest. Once determined they will submit it to the governing body to get approval as a vintage Port. It&rsquo;s then bottled and released approximately 2 years after harvest. But that&rsquo;s just the beginning of the journey for great Vintage Port. These wines tend to excel when aged for decades at a time, not just a few years. So patience is required to achieve the maximum experience. Additionally Vintage Port from even a current release can run the gamut from as &ldquo;low&rdquo; as $50 to well over $100, particularly if it&rsquo;s scored well upon release. But how can we have rewarding experience similar to Vintage Port without waiting thirty years or spending a ton of cash? Read on to find out.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Late Bottle Vintage Port (LBV) may well be the least known style of Port to most consumers. These wines are aged much longer than Vintage Port (4 to 6 years on average in cask) and are ready to drink upon release. The prices are also much lower, often between $20 and $30. These are rich wines, loaded with fruit. They&rsquo;re often big and ripe but not over the top. In short they offer a ton of hedonistic drinking pleasure for a really low premium. And like Vintage Port you get to experience variation from one vintage year to the next. Late Bottle Vintage Port is what you should be drinking while you wait for your Vintage Ports to reach peak maturity. They&rsquo;re the style of Port that gets consumed most around my house. I just tasted through about a dozen examples and here are some thoughts on my four favorites from that batch.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Taylor Fladgate 2009 Late Bottle Vintage Port</strong></a> ($21)</div><br /> <div><br /> While tons of producers now offer a Late Bottled Vintage Port, only Taylor Fladgate can lay claim to being the first house to market with one. This offering opens with deep, dark fruit aromas such as black plum and cherry. Hints of vanilla are evident as well. Blackberry and plum pudding spices drive the deeply layered palate. Chocolate covered black cherries and persistent spices are evident on the long, luscious and lusty finish. At just around $20 a bottle this makes a terrific accompaniment to dessert, or it can be dessert all by itself.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Fonseca 2009 Late Bottled Vintage Port</strong></a> ($23)</div><br /> <div><br /> This offering from Fonseca is one that I see on shelves just about as much, if not more than any other in the category, so I end up reaching for it with some regularity. The nose is studded with an avalanche of fresh, ripe, black fruit aromas. Blackberry, cherry and more are in evidence. More than a dollop of sweet chocolate is apparent on the rich palate which also continues the parade of dark-leaning fruit flavors. Spices galore, black plum and cassis are all in play on the long, robust finish. It&rsquo;ll work equally well paired with strong cheeses as it would bitter, dark chocolate.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Churchill&rsquo;s 2005 Late Bottled Vintage Port</strong></a> ($29)</div><br /> <div><br /> Red and black cherry aromas are evident on the nose along with a wisp of cinnamon spice. The sweet, red-fruit-leaning palate has a certain lightness to it which is quite pleasing. Red plum, raspberry and cherry flavors are all evident along with bits of chocolate sauce. The above average finish is loaded with continued sweet red fruits, cocoa and hints of fruitcake spice. This example of LBV Port is distinct for its relatively nimble mouth-feel and the fact that it leans more heavily than most towards red fruit flavors.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Sandeman 2000 Late Bottled Vintage Port </strong></a>($30)</div><br /> <div><br /> I&rsquo;m a rabid fan of the Sandeman portfolio in general. Whether it&rsquo;s their Vintage, Tawny&rsquo;s or other styles of Port I find that their House provides good value across the range. This LBV is certainly no exception. From the word go, dark fruits tell the story of this powerful but well proportioned wine. Mission fig, dates, blackberry and more light up the boisterous and welcoming nose. Black cherry, raspberry and a host of spices are evident throughout the deeply layered palate. Kirsch liqueur, black plums and continuing black fig flavors are all evident on the long, heady and spice-laden finish. Like the rest of the Sandeman portfolio, this is well worth your money and time.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Once you&rsquo;ve opened a bottle of LBV Port it&rsquo;s probably going to be gone fairly quickly since the deliciousness factor is pretty high. Nevertheless if you don&rsquo;t plan on finishing that day don&rsquo;t worry; most selections will still be tasty up to a month after you pop the cork. Good luck getting anywhere close to a month though once you taste these.</div><br /> </p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6763