November 15th, 2017 11:45am - Posted By: Matt Modrzejewski
I had this wine with my wife and a couple of friends the other night with a white bean soup and later followed up with smores from the fire pit. Man! This is a versatile little diddy with great fruit and good acidity to quench your thirst or pair with wholesome, comfort foods. We wrote this up last year along with two other Spanish reds and the Ludovicus, by far, won out as far as the fan favorite goes! 100% organically grown Garnacha that delivers a dark and fruity nose and front palate while finishing with good tannin and again great, food friendly acidity! -Cheers
November 15th, 2017 11:40am - Posted By: Adrian Zabolitzki
Jean Philippe -
As the holidays quickly approach, you may be starting to look beyond Prosecco for your sparkling options. For those occasions where you want a delicious bottle of bubbles that has more substance and complexity, but you don't necessarily want to splurge on a true Champagne, you should definitely consider this gorgeous and dry Cremant de Limoux Brut Rosé! It comes from the Languedoc in southern France around the town of Limoux in the eastern foothills of the Pyrenees. This intense and delicious sparkler has a beautiful light salmon color bordering on copper and has a creamy mousse that you usually only find in higher priced bottles. Strawberry, melon, and hints of citrus aromas mix with bready and yeasty notes and a slight minerality. This affordable little stunner is going to be great on its own, with light appetizers, especially cheese boards and even with seafood dishes. Do yourself a favor and grab some bottles before the rest of the world finds out about this one! Cheers!
November 15th, 2017 11:35am - Posted By: Sarah Strasser
Quinta del Obispo -
Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and there are so many fun and exciting wines out there that will pair beautifully with your feast. While Pinot Noir, Gamay, Riesling and Chardonnay are the classic pairings, I enjoy finding wines that are just as delicious but not on your radar. Enter Mencía. Mencía is a grape that typically grows in Bierzo in northern Spain above Portugal and is fresh and lively with bright red fruit notes. Quinta del Obispo bought vineyards that were planted in the early 20th century on a south facing, sandy ridge. The grapes are all hand harvested and as soon as I tasted this wine I thought about Thanksgiving. It boasts notes of ripe raspberry, cracked black pepper, pencil shavings, dark cherry, leather and a pronounced iron like minerality. Medium bodied, this will please both the Pinot Noir and Syrah drinkers at Thanksgiving and perfectly compliment everything on the table. This drinks well above the price point so you can even impress your snobby relatives! Cheers!
November 8th, 2017 10:12am - Posted By: Sarah Strasser
After learning which wines a customer generally likes I love to recommend something that has similar qualities and is a little more off the beaten path. Nero d’Avola is a perfect example of an incredibly approachable, drinkable wine that most people have never heard of. Nero d’Avola grows in Sicily and produces wines that have notes of blueberry, blackberry, dark cherry, leather, anise, baking spices and a peppery spiciness. Medium bodied with bright acidity and integrated tannins, this wine will be the next favorite of people who like Malbec, Merlot, California red blends, and Cotes du Rhone. Catuj is a textbook example of everything Nero d’Avola has to offer and this well balanced, medium bodied wine will pair with meatball sandwiches, burgers, pizza, and stews, Incredibly versatile and affordable, this could just be your new favorite wine! Cheers!
November 8th, 2017 10:10am - Posted By: Matt Modrzejewski
Ruca Malen “Yauquen”
With deep roots in the industry and a soft spot for wine from Mendoza, Jean Pierre Thibaud and Jaques Louis de Montalembert shared a vision of creating their own winery, of course, in Mendoza. Thibaud, just leaving a ten year tenure as the president of Chandon Winery Argentina, and Montalembert, studying and making wine in Burgundy, began to see their dream come true. Founding Bodega Ruca Malen in 1998 and harvesting their first vintage in 1999, the two have since been making solid Argentine wines with a old-world feel to them. The Yauquen (JAU-KEN), meaning, “to share” is a Bordeaux style blend that is 50% Malbec and 50% Cabernet sees malolactic fermentation in stainless steel and 20% of the wine spends six months in oak. This wine is slightly reserved but not enough to hold back the wonderfully ripe, red fruits that are accompanied by red pepper, fleshy tannin and bright acidity. Great with red meats and tomato-based sauces, this wine is also very versatile and would show nicely with spicier foods as well! -Cheers
November 8th, 2017 10:09am - Posted By: Adrian Zabolitzki
We often get asked for unoaked versions of Chardonnay these days and while we have a great assortment, this week I'd like to introduce you to a white wine from northern Italy that mimics this style and would also be a great wine to serve at Thanksgiving. Soave is the name of the white wine appellation just north of Verona, with the best vineyard sites situated in the higher elevation and historic Classico region. Pra is one of the producers responsible for the quality renaissance of the region and for this wine, they are using 100% Garganega grown on dark volcanic soils that foster beautiful ripening. White fruits and stone fruits dominate the wine with white flower ansd nice minerality adding to the complexity. While this Soave has nice body, it isn't heavy, and has good acidity that adds a refreshing zing. Cheers!
November 1st, 2017 10:45am - Posted By: Adrian Zabolitzki
Split Creek Farms
It may seem difficult to find a balanced style of Cabernet Sauvignon in the ten dollar range, but last week I tasted the Split Creek Farms Cabernet Sauvignon and thought it really delivered for the price. The inspiration for this wine comes from simpler times when winemakers would get together at the local general store to unwind, swap stories, and discuss the news of the day. Wine would sometimes also be sold from the barrel. Chris Donatiello, who originally made a name for himself in the sales and marketing side of the wine business, started Split Creek Farms to bring quality wine to the market at great prices. The 2015 is a very drinkable with dark fruits mixing with coffee and tobacco hints. Plush and round on the palate, this Cab has just enough tannins for structure and a fresh punch of acidity at the end to keep it balanced and pure. Cheers!
November 1st, 2017 10:44am - Posted By: Sarah Strasser
I can't tell you how many people I have encountered over the years that immediately shoot down the recommendation of a Chardonnay. So many people love to hate it when it is arguably one of the most versatile grapes out there. Chardonnay ranges from the racy, high minerality of a Chablis to the rich, decadent, life changing Mersault and any and everywhere in between. California Chardonnay has gotten an especially bad rap for being over oaked and overblown with discernable residual sugar. Esser Chardonnay is a perfect example of well done, affordable Chard with balanced oak notes and just the slightest hint of custard. Tropical fruits make up the majority of the palate with slightly under ripe pineapple stealing the show and notes of mango and green apple following. Balanced acidity is key in any wine but particularly Chardonnayand it makes an appearance here with a complementing medium body. If it's been a while since you've tried a Chardonnay start here and give it another shot. If you say you don't like Chardonnayyou probably just haven't met the right one yet! Cheers!
November 1st, 2017 10:43am - Posted By: Matt Modrzejewski
Christian Roguenant is a veteran respected winemaker working for the Niven family, with labels like Baileyana, Tangent and this True Myth Cabernet Sauvignon on his watch. Dedicated to winemaking, stewardship of the land and innovation, Christian was awarded the prestigious Winemaker of the Year award earlier this year from his friends and colleagues in the San Luis Obispo County wine industry. Early in his career Christian planted the first vineyards in South Korea where he produced a sparkling wine in honor of the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. While this was a milestone in his career he admits that vineyards in South Korea just don’t make any sense due to the climate. Now fast forward three decades to Paso Robles and the Niven family of wines for whom Christian has solidified his true talent as a winemaker and along with a long list of fabulous wines brings us this True Myth Cabernet 2014. Silky smooth and bursting with dark fruits like blackberry and blueberry that mingle so nicely with hints of cedar and cocoa. Wonderful with heavier meats or a hearty stew to warm you up this fall! -Cheers
October 25th, 2017 10:54am - Posted By: Matt Modrzejewski
It’s not often that we bring anything in that we haven’t had the chance to taste first, but this little red from the Rioja DOC in Spain was on a direct import list we get an opportunity to buy in on during the fall and I took a chance. Well, I sure did make the right choice this time, when I took this bottle home with me over the weekend it didn’t take but a couple of sips for me to decide that this was going to be my wine of the week. Bright fruit and a fresh, clean mouthfeel with a Pollock-like smattering of white pepper, raspberry and sharp cherry. A medium-bodied red that would go great with game bird or pork and sautéed veggies. 100% Tempranillo that sees fifty-fifty French oak for 3 months and stainless steel, so rounded and soft flavors accompany a clean and pointed fruit profile. -Cheers
October 25th, 2017 10:52am - Posted By: Sarah Strasser
Chile unfortunately is often over looked when people are looking for an affordable Cab, a juicy, peppery blend, or elegant Pinot Noir. There are some hidden gems from Chile that offer a ton of bang for the buck and the Montes wines all over deliver but particularly the Cab. Montes was founded by a quartet who dreamt of elevating the quality of Chilean wine and they have drawn a lot of attention to the country. When they started producing wine there were only 14 wineries that were exporting and now there are over 200 in the market. The winemaker at Montes believes that 80% of good wine is done in the vineyard and 20% is done in the cellar. As a result the vineyards are all maintained meticulously with pruning and limited irrigation but the main thing they focus on is harvesting at the pinnacle of ripeness and natural acidity. They make sure the grapes are at the perfect level of maturity so the tannins are fully matured to create a balanced wine and they harvest at the coolest hours to maintain the grapes' natural acidity. This Cab has all of the fruit forward, rich notes that will please any California drinker but it has such beautiful acidity and depth for the price point. Dark cherry, anise, leather, black currant, and a fresh herbacious characteristic make up this diamond in the rough. Enjoy this with something off the grill! Cheers!
October 25th, 2017 10:50am - Posted By: Adriabn Zabolitzki
The Crusher -
Ah, these cool, fall evenings have me craving richer meals like barbecue, stews, and roasted meats! Savory side dishes round out the meals and one way to pair these intense flavors is with equally intense wines. A great example is The Crusher Petite Sirah! Petite Sirah is thought to be a distant relative to Syrah and is grown primarily in Australia, Israel, and of course the US. The fruit for The Crusher is sourced throughout California's prime growing regions, and it also includes small amounts of Merlot, Zinfandel, Tempranillo, Carignan, and Mourvedre. The result is a saturated, teeth staining inky wine with tons of ripe fruit. Bold plum and dark berry fruits in a full bodied, richly textured package. It has nice, smooth tannins that carry the lush, intense fruit flavors alongside coffee and vanilla notes to a long finish. This will undoubtedly be one to remember this winter! Cheers!
October 18th, 2017 2:03pm - Posted By: Adrian Zabolitzki
I’m very excited that Tami Frappato just arrived! The Tami project started in 2009 when rockstar winemaker Ariana Occhipinti and a few vineyard owner friends decided to make great, simple and natural wines from young vineyards in Sicily. Their goal was to prove that it is possible to take good natural grapes and make simple everyday wines. They decided to convert the vineyards to organic viticulture and then after a short maceration, only age the grapes in stainless steel tanks to ensure a youthful fruit forward style that is simply delicious. The native Sicilian Frappato grapes make a fun and lively wine with juicy strawberry and red raspberry with a hint of cherry. It’s not just a fruit bomb though. This medium bodied beauty also shows brambly herbaceous and mineral hints with a nicely balanced fresh acidity. Put a little chill on it, pop the cork, and enjoy. Simple as that!
October 18th, 2017 2:01pm - Posted By: Sarah Strasser
Pewsey Vale –
I decided to do this because we are getting into Riesling season and because I firmly believe that everyone should drink more dry Riesling! There are only a handful of more versatile, food friendly wines out there. What I didn’t realize was that it was going to be featured at the dinner with wine maker Louisa Rose I had the pleasure of attending last week! Yalumba wine maker Louisa Rose exudes passion for her craft with both the hard science and magic behind it. She has been at Yalumba for over 20 years and has been the chief winemaker since 2006 and has won many awards, including Australia’s Best Winemaker in 2014 from The Age. Pewsey Vale is situated in Eden Valley in the Barossa but with a higher elevation that sets it about 250 meters above the Barossa floor. It was originally one of the earliest vineyards in the region with vines being planted in 1847 and was rediscovered in 1961. It is a single site and is only planted with Riesling which Louisa makes three different bottlings of; the estate Riesling, the Prima, and Contours. The estate Riesling is bone dry with notes of lemon and lime zest, white flowers, and dried herbs. Insanely food friendly, enjoy this with pork and grilled peaches, arugula salads, or oysters. Cheers!
October 18th, 2017 2:00pm - Posted By: Matt Modrzejewski
Well, the only disruption I got from this fun Washington state Cabernet was that I had to rewind the movie I was watching when I took the first sip because I was not expecting what I had in my glass for this price. Very round and supple with great mouthfeel, dark fruit and notes of coffee, tobacco and earth. Winemaker, Andrew Latta, really gave a lotta personality to this wine. See what I did there? His back ground was with Charles Smith, making many of those fun labeled wines we all came to enjoy. Now, in addition to making his own Latta Wines, he is working with Disruption to make wine that is reminiscent of the industrial art style labels that adorn the bottles. This wine is as provocative as the art and brings so much more while on the palate. Because it is so perfect, I have to go with the pairing on the back label, “DRINK WITH MEAT” and “More wine, less ego.” - Cheers