Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Federalist Dueling Pistols 2014

Federalist Wines brings this luscious blend of half Syrah and half Zinfandel from Sonoma/Dry Creek Valley Appellation in California. Each varietal is fermented separately from free run juice. The individual lots spend an average of 15 days on the skins. Upon completing primary fermentation, the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation then aged for 15 months in 20% new American (adds sweet notes) and Hungarian (adds spicy notes) oak barrels.

Rich and big and chewy... in its prime with bursting ripe fruit and a balance of great acidity and supple tannins.

Dark purple colors with extremely vibrant aromas: deep and dark with a persistent intensity of black fruits (black cherry and blackberry) pressed against cedar planks.

The robust aromas are matched in intensity by a rich palate of chocolate covered cherries, green peppers, marzipan and black pepper with a finish is that is long and satisfying.

A great Holiday gift at $29. Happy New Year to all!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Markham Merlot 2014

Wow, this $26 bottle drinks like it's $50! Chewy with silky tannins and excellent balance. Ruby red colors, aromas of strawberry jam, marzipan and cigar box. The palate shows caramel, baked fruit pie, licorice and milk chocolate. A perfect special red for the Holiday season.

"Located in Napa Valley, Markham owns 350 acres of vineyards, strategically located in several of the area's best growing regions. The Estate vineyards provide the backbone for the blend, totaling 50% of this bottling. Merlot from Oak Knoll contributes sour cherry character while Yountville components provide the classic Bing cherry aromas and flavor. The jammy notes come from blending in warmer up-valley fruit from Calistoga vineyards. Much care is taken to maximize the filtered light and allow the Merlot to hang freely within the canopy during harvest. This allows the fruit to mature and color evenly. The wines are sent to barrel as individual lots to mature, allowing for greater understanding of the direct impact of our viticultural and fermentation practices each vintage. "

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hanna Sauvignon Blanc 2015

From Hanna Winery in Sonoma/Russian River Valley, California, this vibrant Sauvignon Blanc is fermented and aged in stainless steel on the lees.

The colors in glass are pale green shades of lemon or hay. I would call this "off dry", expressing a fresh and vigorous acidity with deep intensity and low tannins while weighing in on the medium side. On the nose I get fresh hay, summer stone fruit and dried fig with floral notes. On the palate is green pepper, ginger, spice, a minty citrus, green melon, grapefruit rind or pomelo and an herbaceous aftertaste with a lingering finish.

This medium bodied white wine can be an excellent holiday pairing with any shrimp dish.

SRP at $20

Friday, November 18, 2016

Cecchi Chianti Classico 2014 DOCG

It's been 10 years since I've been to Tuscany, but I can close my eyes and be transported there anytime I want. I can close my eyes and breath in the verdant aromas of the countryside, the citrus scent of lemon groves, the purple fields of lavender, the smell of freshly dug, earthy truffles. Last night though, I didn't have to close my eyes. Last night I opened a bottle of quintessential Italy... Cecchi (pronounced Check-ee) Chianti Classico.

Made from 90% Sangiovese grapes, aged in wooden casks for 12 months, then 2 months in bottle before release. Ruby red colors with a nose of intense red fruit, forest floor and tobacco. The weight is of medium body with smooth tannins while strawberry, raspberry and white pepper are displayed on the palate. The finish is long and playful reflecting fruit and earth... in a glass.

A perfect food wine, I paired it with pasta and red sauce, but will work well with roast turkey, chicken or red meat.

It's worth a try, so take a virtual trip to Tuscany... for $22.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Little Black Dress Diva California Red 2013

Winemaker Margaret Leonardi crafted this red blend from Mendocino, California. Made from a blend of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Petit Sirah, with smaller amounts of Zinfandel, Tannat, Mourvèdre, Garnacha, Malbec and other red grapes.

Ruby colors with aromas of cherry, cassis and licorice, then a mild lingering toasty edge. The palate showing playful notes of wild berries and dried flowers combining to form a complex show for the money (about $12).

Monday, November 7, 2016

Cusumano Alta Mora Etna Rosso 2014 DOC

Here is a new winery from the Cusumano family in the volcanic and fertile Mt. Etna appellation of Sicily, producing their Alta Mora Etna Rosso from 100% Nerello Mescalero grapes indigenous to the region. Fermented in stainless steel tanks then successive fining in 2,000 liter barrels.

Soft tannins and a bright acidity with bold character and complexity, this red shows like a Nebbiolo with slightly lighter volume.

Deep ruby red in the glass with intense aromas of blue fruits, moist earth and spice, touched by sprigs of lavender. The palate shows white pepper, spice and a lovely herbaceous finish. At $24 this would be a sure winner at any Thanksgiving dinner.

14% Alcohol.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Barton & Guestier Cotes De Provence 2015

This Barton & Guestier Rose from Cotes De Provence is a lively blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault and 20% Syrah with soft, muted but complex aromas of lovely florals, followed by hints of apricot and peach, then still more scents of marzipan and honeysuckle. The muted aromas are contrasted by an intensity of flavors with melon/cantelope, spices, light pepper and ripe fruit. There are bold chewy textures on the palate and finishes with jam and spice. Perfect for July weather.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

St. Donat Estates Marga Furmint 2013, Hungary

As promised, here is another pretty Furmint. This one, from Csopak above Lake Balaton where light reflecting off the lake provides plenty of sunshine, the marly soil encourages growth. Aged in steel tanks and used oak barrels for 6 months. Clear pale husk colors the glass and subtle and warm aromas of bread and toast, hints of smoke, green apple and pear and a pleasant minerality. Flavors are creamy and rich, the palate is smartly sharp with a snappy floral ring along with a citrus edge. Long glowing finish. SRP $25 per bottle.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ventisquero Grey Carmenere 2013, Single block, Maipo Valley, Chile

From Ventisquero's Trinidad Vineyard this Carmenere is aged 18 months in French oak barrels.

Dark ruby paints the glass, medium weight but opaque, aromas of verdant black fruits, anise and cassis and fresh cherry pie. Beautiful silky tannins leaning against an even brighter acidity testify to a smooth, clean and smoky palate of blackberry, barnyard and finishes with green pepper.

The flavors settle nicely, yielding to quite an earthy and lengthy finish. This. Is. Wonderful!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Barta Winery Old King Vineyard Furmint 2012

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of getting schooled on a grape I know nothing about, Furmint! The place was the Hungarian Embassy here in NYC which was the perfect setting for my introduction to some of the wines of Hungary.

Furmint, a superior white grape variety indigenous to the Tokaj region, is the undisputed king of Hungarian grapes and being one that ripens late, shows a smooth acidity and some unique minerality. I immediately noticed a similarity to Riesling, especially on the aromatics, but there are also hints of Chardonnay's texture. Here is the first in a series of several I had tasted.

Barta Winery Old King Vineyard Furmint 2012
From Old King Vineyard in Mád, this Furmint is aged in used oak barrels for 7 months. Straw colored and clean in the glass with sharp, nutty aromas piercing a bubble of summer fruit. On the palate are muted flavors of citrus playfully complementing an ethereal minerality and mild acidity.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Auction to Benefit Lake County Wildfire Releif

Please help to rebuild the community devastated by wildfires last fall in Lake County, California.

An auction, LakeCountyRising organized by Congessman Mike Thompson, Grape grower Andy Beckstoffer and Auctioneer Fritz Hatton will take place on Sunday March 20, 2016 in St. Helena at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone to support the long-term rebuilding efforts after the devastating Valley Fire in southern Lake County.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Cantina Zaccagnini Tralcetto Montepulciano 2013 DOC

Zaccagnini produces this beautiful Riserva (grapes grown, vinified and bottled on Estate) made from 100% Montepulciano grapes fermented in stainless steel and aged in oak for 6 months before bottle aging for 3 months.

A steal at $15 a bottle, this red has a lot going for it. Fruit forward but with an Old World attitude. Ruby colors the glass showing medium body, floral notes of violet and lavender, swimming with spices and tea leaves. The palate has a vibrant intensity displaying ripe plum, cherry and black olives. Bright acidity and smooth tannins, complex and concentrated finish. Try it you'll like it!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Antico Fuoco Rosso

Still doing research on this one as far as whether it's from Puglia or Verona, but... wherever its from it's a good one! As far as I can tell it's made up of 60% Corvina with 40% Merlot grapes and aged in neutral barrels for 6 months. The wine menu indicated some Negroamaro in the blend but I couldn't confirm that fact.

The color is a deep purple and weighing in fairly hefty with consistency of light syrup. Aromas of summer fruits ripened on the vine, black currants and black cherry. The palate goes to marzipan and stewed fruits with a slightly bitter citrus edge, nicely balancing the dry acidity with mild tannins, reminding me of a Ripasso or Amarone because of its concentration of flavors. Chewy with lots of texture.

If you have more details about this one please comment below.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Tenuta Terraviva Lui Montepulciano D'Abruzzo

This Montepulciano D'Abruzzo is a biodynamic red wine macerated in stainless steel then fermented in old French barriques for 12 months before bottle aging for 6 months before release. Ruby colors the glass while aromatics showing black cherry, forest floor and musk. Fruit dominates the palate via soft tannins and mild acidity. Good everyday wine to have with a meal.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Federalist Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

The Federalist expresses this revolutionary blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petite Syrah and 1% Sangiovese. Different blocks were fermented separately to preserve the character of each. Aged for 15 months in new oak.

Very dark purple in the glass, with good weight; on the nose a playful cherry creamsicle set against an earthy leather, after breathing a while opens to ripe blackberry and spices.

On the palate... OMG, blueberry pie a la mode! (with vanilla ice cream), black fruits really noticeable at back of tongue along with sour cherry. Chewy texture, good ripe fruit with excellent tannin structure. SRP $17.76.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Near perfect conditions made 2012 a banner year for California's grape growing season, and here's a Cabernet that proves it without breaking the bank. Sourced from Napa, Lodi, Paso Robles and Monterey, with a blend of 76% Cabernet, 13% Syrah, 7% Zinfandel and 4% Merlot, this juicy red is a study in supple tannins and bright acidity. Aged in American and French oak barrels for 8 months.

Reddish purple hues coloring the glass, with an opaque density, fruity aromas of cassis, blueberry, and some red fruits, along with subtle hints of vanilla bean. Then the palate shows ripe flavors of plum and black cherry, underscored by more red and black fruit.

Can't go wrong with this one at about $9!!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Ca Ed Balos Moscato D'Asti

This one makes me smile. It could be the sparkling in the glass... or the peach aromas that remind me of summer. The little things in life... that make you feel happy... just to be alive.

All this from a little grape called Moscato Bianco, grown in Piedmont, Italy. At harvest the grapes are soft pressed, fermented in controlled temperature steel tanks, then the fermentation process is stopped at the precise moment to attain a higher residual sugar, sparkle and lower alcohol content. But the sweetness is in no way cloying and seems just right to me.

Colors in the glass are clear straw with intense aromas of apricot, peach and honeysuckle along with a slightly sweet palate and hints of citrus and elderberry. The finish is long and satisfying. Will pair well with soft cheese, Italian Pastries or fresh fruit.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Slow Wine 2016

If any of you wine lovers are in NYC today, try to make the Slow Wine 2016 event at the Highline Ballroom, 431 west 16 Street. Check out Italy's selection of biodiverse wines.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Rosenblum Cellars Vintner's Cuvee XXXVI Zinfandel, California

From Sonoma, this is an excellent value at about $11. Aged for 8 months in American oak, prior to bottling a bit of Petit Syrah is added to round out the profile. Notes of blue and red fruits including blackberry, blueberry are prevalent on the nose, while the palate shows signs of raspberry, white pepper and spice. Chewy and rambunctious, this is a good everyday wine you can pair with barbecue or pizza easily. Enjoy! You may be able to find it for much lower price depending on your location.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Federalist Lodi Zinfandel 2014

Created to honor our founding father, this bold red is particularly American, blending 93% Zinfandel with a bit (7%) of Syrah.

With different blocks fermenting separately to maintain the character of each grape, the blend is then aged in new American oak for 12 months.

Dark purple in the glass, aromas of strawberry and ripe summer fruits set against rich exotic spices.

Flavors range from vegetal green peppers to strawberry sorbet, from marzipan to plum and cherry, a perfect balance of bright acidity and mild tannins.

Fairly high alcohol content of 14.5%. SRP of $17.76! Huzzah!

This dense red will pair well with a spicy dish, we did a chicken with coconut curry and it worked extremely well.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Left Coast Cellars Cali's Cuvée Pinot Noir 2013

From Left Coast Cellars in Willamette Valley, Oregon comes this light and airy Pinot Noir. In spite of that lightness this one shows a surprising intensity that pulses and then opens nicely. Medium weight, light and clear in the glass and pale rose colors. In contrast the aromas display new fruits, strawberry, white pepper flowing into more intricate mushroom and earthy notes. On the palate are ripe plum, a slightly metallic raspberry, a bit of minerality... even a bit of leather and barbecue smoke. This one is like a sunset, somewhere between sweet and tart with light tannins and bright acidity, smooth and round with a good finish.