Friday, April 27, 2012

Bodegas Riojanas Puerta Vieja Crianza 2007 Rioja

From La Rioja region of Spain, Bodegas Riojanas produces this Crianza, a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo and 5% Graciano aged for 18 months in American oak, followed by six months bottle aging before release.

Dark ruby colors paint a bold picture to prepare for the bright and funky nose showing earth and bramble, dried fruit, cured meat, black cherries and spice... while the palate expresses bold signs of umami, coconut, dried cherries and earth. Easy tannins and acidity with a surefooted balance that makes this a real find at around $11. What a complex wine for the price?!

Definitely a food wine that works really well with red meat or sauces. Don't miss this one!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Villa Pozzi Nero D'Avola 2010 Sicily

The Sicilian Nero D'Avola, truly a hearty grape that makes for a full bodied red, is grown at the Villa Pozzi vineyards located in the hills surrounding Marsala, Salemi and Mazzara del Vallo, in the western part of the island. The high altitudes of between 1000 to 1300 feet are where mountain vineyards make for hard working grapes. 

Fermented in stainless steel and aged briefly in oak giving up aromas of black cherry, spices, tobacco and anise, while on the palate are a nice complexity of licorice, glycerine, a fruity lushness, with a ripe, chewy texture, spice, again cassis. 

This is a very good food wine for between $8 & $11, comes in a screw top bottle, works well with pizza, pasta red sauce or red meats.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cono Sur Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Valle Central, Chile

Sauvignon Blancs from this region typically show good character and ripeness, on the nose is a bright citrus, grapefruit, and melon with a bit of a fresh herbal note, while the palate gives up ripe melon, hints of white pepper, rich spice and lime... all in all, a fine-tuned balance. Makes a great pairing with Italian sausage with spaghetti squash, broccoli rabe, onions and basil (thanks Mark L.). A very good value at under $10.

Winemaker notes:
Cono Sur, a modern, innovative winery in Chile that sources grapes from the best regions. Famous regional winemaker Adolfo Hurtado is named Winemaker of the year it seems almost on an annual basis. He leads the team that creates this fresh and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc best buy with all temperature-controlled stainless steel fermentation and aging.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Novel Travel Ideas for Wine Lovers

As mentioned many times on this blog, one of my most memorable vacations was a cycling trip through Tuscany. There were so many sights to see and on a bike I had the choice of stopping whenever I wanted if one caught my eye, and naturally what caught my eye related to wine. So... I'd usually stop at a winery, enoteca, or even a vineyard. I think an interesting trip sometimes can be a life changer, I know it was for me. So here are a few novel travel ideas for a wine lover.

Biking, walking, running, & multisport vacations through wine country

For over 34 years Backroads has delivered a rich sense of journey that connects you to a region, with an appreciation for every minute of your time, so that events happen in a natural manner that makes sense, giving you maximum flexibility over how you spend each day. They operate their our own trips everywhere in the world, controlling quality each step of the way.

Multiple daily routes give you the freedom to access the best of a region at your own pace. Every day of every trip they provide a variety of well-researched options which are displayed on the Web and include mileage and elevation change. Every option comes with directions and is fully supported.

Two vans, three leaders, thoughtful trip design, multiple route options with directions and a choice of riding companions—each and every person is supported equally, regardless of ability.

River Barge through wine country

Gourmet dining while savoring a glass of wine on a luxury hotel barge, visiting local vineyards in the Burgundy region of France or the Po River Valley of Italy.

Fully crewed, all inclusive luxury hotel barges cruise the inland waterways of nine European countries, along canals, rivers, lakes, lagoons and lochs, giving you the opportunity to experience life there from a truly unique perspective.

Hotel barges are ideal for people looking for either an individual cruise with other like-minded people, or for those choosing a whole barge charter for a family or group of friends.

On your all-inclusive cruise, your intimate ‘floating hotel’ glides gently along while you relax and enjoy gourmet cuisine, fine wines and the company of fellow passengers. There will be guided tours to castles, chateaux, vineyards, markets and when you return to the barge a professional crew will be there to look after you once more.

They have special theme cruises for those who enjoy a specific sport or hobby. You can choose a theme cruise from their cruise guide or view their cruise maps from several locations around the site.

Food & Wine

LA DOLCE VITA WINE TOURS is a boutique tour operator founded in 1999 that offers educational wine vacations in Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

Their tours aren’t simply about stellar wine and gourmet food. They’re an entry point to Italian culture. Wine is a magnificent portal. It’s a door that leads to the world of the winemaker: equal parts farmer and artist, scientist and alchemist. It opens onto the Italian kitchen, being a soul mate to both rustic cucina povera and the most elegant haute cuisine. Wine opens the way to history, to stories of ancient Romans, Renaissance dukes, and Savoy royalty who shaped what we eat and drink. And it’s a conduit to modern-day Italy, with its lively wine bars and sidewalk cafés, bucolic landscapes and art-filled cities. These are the worlds La Dolce Vita Wine Tours explores.

Small groups (2 to 14 max) allow for dialog with winemakers. For dedicated wine enthusiasts and wine educators, they have wine-intensive tours. For the active traveler, they offer walking tours and custom bike trips. Accommodations are charming countryside inns or family-run hotels in medieval wine towns.

On all their tours, you'll enjoy Italian-style hospitality, user-friendly wine education, thoughtful food and wine pairings, and cultural sights. Plus, you'll discover places you’d never find on your own.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Vidal-Fleury Cotes du Rhone 2009

On his trip through France in 1787 Thomas Jefferson visited Vidal-Fleury, today considered one of the most consistent producers in the Rhone Valley.

This 2009 Cotes-du-Rhone was a great vintage year and a value at the same time. It's a traditional blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 5% Carignan fermented separately with indigenous yeasts. They do a long and slow maceration of about 30 days with 70% aged in tank and 30% in large oak foudres* followed by a light filtration before bottling unfined for 3-6 months.

It has deep ruby colors while the expressive nose shows a dark red fruit, some strawberry, chocolate, and especially prune.

On the palate black fruits, dark chocolate, cherry, pepper and dusty spice, but after a good time on the tongue you'll find hints of dried flowers, cedar, and tobacco with supple tannins a decent finish.

What a great price and value?!? I found it for about $12/bottle discounted for a half case at Wine Express online... and shipping was free.

Pairs well with meats, pizza, barbecue, pasta, burgers and cheese.

*Foudre: A large oak or chestnut cask used for aging wine (mostly in Provence and Alsace), with a capacity between 150 and 350 hectoliters (3,960 to 9,240 gallons).

Monday, April 9, 2012

Salicutti Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG 2000

Salicutti Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG 2000 is made with organically produced Sangiovese grapes harvested from the Vigna del Teatro and Vigna del Piaggione vineyards.

After fermentation, the wine is aged in a combination of large French and Slavonian oak casks for 3 years, then bottled without fining or filtration and matured for an additional year.

Garnet colors with floral notes, and aromas of ripe cherry and balsamic vinegar, while the palate displays a complexity of spices, blue fruits, sweet bing cherries and plums, rounding out the tannins with attractive coffee/chocolate finish.