Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Croft Pink Porto

To most of us here in the states Port wine is traditionally reserved for the holidays or a special occasion. Originating in 1588 in Portugal, Croft is now producing a Rose Port that goes beyond tradition.

Made from Porto grapes, the juice comes in contact with the skins just long enough to impart a pink color, fresh and fruity. Some aromas of raspberry and flavors of honey, citrus with a mild nuttiness on the finish.

I tried a glass on the rocks as suggested on the website (and on the label), but they've come up with quite a few interesting recipes you can try (see below).

Pink Jasmine
Croft Pink Port mixed with equal parts cold Jasmine Tea served in tall glass with diced strawberries and ice.

2 oz. Croft Pink Porto
1 oz. Premium Gin
2 dashes orange bitters
3 oz. ginger beer
1 mint sprig, for garnish
fresh fruit in season, as garnish
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled highball glass, stir briefly, add the garnishes.

Pink Cashmir
2 oz. Croft Pink Port
1 oz. apricot nectar
3 grinds black pepper (ground finely)
1 oz simple syrup
Chill over ice in a cocktail shaker, shake well, and serve


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gabbiano Chianti 2010 DOCG

Made from 90% Sangiovese, and 10% other red grapes sourced from the Chianti region in Tuscany, aged 5 months in stainless steel tanks, clear ruby red colors, an herbal influenced potpourri of deep ripe cherries, red fruits, flowers, complemented on the palate with cocoa, and a pinch of musk. Dry but with a fresh mellow character, with an overall balance of fruit and tannins, and a smooth, clean finish. A great deal at $10.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More Wines for Thanksgiving

I'd like to thank Kristen and her good friends for helping me taste this flight of wine picks for Thanksgiving. The wines were from California, Italy, France and New Zealand. (Also thank you to Kristen for photo above.)

Chateau Julien Gewurztraminer 2010 Carmel Valley, California
Light golden colors, clean citrus notes of grapefruit, flowers, honey and jolly rancher green apple, the mild and simple palate shows spice and nice acidity. Gewurztraminer is versatile and will pair well with Turkey dinner, especially if your stuffing is spicy, also may be used before dinner with cheese or after dinner with dessert.

Winemaker notes:
Cold fermented using Steinberger Yeast, known for its slow fermentation, allows the winemaker the ability to maintain natural varietal flavor and a slight residual sugar. While semi-dry in flavor, this wines slightly higher acidity balances the residual sugar for a refreshing, lighter style of wine.

Rasciatano Rose, Puglia Italy
Made with 100% Montepulciano grapes pressed softly then fermented partly in stainless steel vats at a temperature of 13-15° (C) and partly in second and third passage barriques, followed by aging in stainless steel vats for 4-6 months and 4 months in bottle. Rose petal colors, aromas of sour cherry, and peach, on the palate dry, slightly metallic with good acidity.

Dino Torti Forza Inter Pino Nero Oltrepo Pavese 2008 Italy
Also soft pressed, complex aromas of almonds, fruits and flowers, flavors of nutty, apple and pear, dry but satisfying.

Maison Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages, 2009 France
The grapes (Gamay) are gently crushed, an extended maceration of 12-20 days gets you the extraction of color and tannins, then aged in French oak for 8 to 10 months. On the nose notes of tar and forest floor, fruit forward on the palate of black sour cherry, pepper, an attractive minerality and holiday spice, good finish. Great deal at $10.

Te Muna Road Vineyard Craggy Range Pinot Noir, 2009, New Zealand
From the region of Martinborough, 100% Pinot Noir grapes are fermented in open-top tanks followed by aging in 33% new French oak barriques for 10 months. Rose red, medium weight but at the same time velvety, tree bark, smoky earth and violets, dry but sweet, beautiful balancing act, plums. Nice long layered finish. SRP $40. A majority of the tasters really enjoyed this one.

St. Francis Winery Sonoma County Old Vines Zinfandel, 2008 California
The average age of the vines here are 80-100 years old, and actually is 89% Zin, and the rest a blend of Alicante Bouschet, Mourverdre, Carignane, Syrah and Petite Sirah. The grapes are fermented then aged in new American oak for 12-15 months. Complex, underbrush, cigar box, cherry vanilla, raspberry, plums, pepper and spice. For the price ($17) very nice.

Luccarelli Pazzia Primitivo di Manduria Old Vines 2007 Puglia, Italy
Deep rich purple ruby colors show such an opacity as to preview what's to come, namely rich cherries with prunes and spices on top of vanilla and chocolate nuances. Very fruit forward but with an Italian flair. Beautiful. $40.

Arnaldo Caprai Sagrantino di Montefalco 25 Anni 2005 DOCG Montefalco Italy
Made with the best grapes of 100% Sagrantino, aged 2 years in French Oak Barrique and a minimum of 6 months in bottle. What is immediately apparent is the very deep dark opaque colors, with strong and vibrant vanilla concentrates on the nose, laid over violets, earth and spices. Flavors of ripe fruit woven with spices and vanilla, great aging potential.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Pick: Stoller Vineyards SV Estate Pinot Noir 2007

It's that time of the year again. Over the next few days I'll be featuring wines that will work for you this coming holiday season. Here is the first, Stoller Vineyards SV Estate Pinot Noir 2007.

Located in the heart of Oregon's Willamette Valley in the Dundee Hills AVA, Stoller brings this Pinot Noir to the Thanksgiving table with a blast. Colors of dusty rose and intense aromas of funky strawberry, moist earth and smoked bacon, with a palate of chocolate, coffee, raspberry and spice, followed by hints of licorice, violet and caramel and a fairly long finish. Complex and balanced and perfectly paired with a turkey dinner. Enjoy this gem with family or friends at around $40.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chateau Leoville Poyferre St. Julien 2003

The world of wine has been good to me. It's allowed me to meet interesting people with broad tastes and vastly different backgrounds. Ray O., after over a year of following my blog, recently took a trip from his hometown in Austin Texas to the Big Apple. We met for dinner at a small French BYOB called La Sirene, and Ray brought a bottle of Chateau Leoville Poyferre St. Julien 2003. He had originally bought a case to commemorate the birth of his 2nd son, and I thought it was very generous of him to show up with this wonderful Bordeaux blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc.

First up are the amazing aromas, the impression of clay and wet soil is so present right out of the bottle, with cassis and violets floating up from the ground. The deeply opaque purple colors translate onto the palate as delicious ripe cherry, paired with Christmas spices, accompanying floral notes and verdant black fruit. Velvety tannins and perfect balance make this wine an incredible masterpiece with a silky smooth and extremely long finish. Thank you, Ray!

Wine Advocate
I have had this wine three times out of bottle, rating it 97 once and 98 twice. It is a colossal success and a potential legend in the making. Its saturated, dense inky/blue/purple color offers up notes of crushed rocks, acacia flowers, blueberries, black raspberries, and creme de cassis. A synthesis of power and elegance, this multi-layered wine has spectacular concentration, sweet but high tannin, and low acidity A stunning effort that showcases this legendary terroir, it is a brilliant, brilliant success. The quintessential Leoville Poyferre? Anticipated maturity: 2009-2030. Score: 98. —Robert Parker, April 2006.

Wine Spectator
Pure cassis on the nose. Impressive. Full-bodied, thick and powerful, with loads of fruit and big, velvety tannins. Goes on for minutes on the palate. Huge wine. Very, very impressive. This is one of the big surprises of the vintage. Best after 2012. 19,165 cases made. Score: 95. —James Suckling, March 31, 2006.

Wine Enthusiast
A huge, opulent wine that packs sweet, rich tannins and spicy fruit. In the midst of all this decadence, though, is a kernel of tannic dryness. This estate, long the weakest of the three Lèoville wines, is now back in top form. Score: 93. —Roger Voss, May 01, 2006.