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Archive for October, 2011

Churchill’s – 10 Year Tawny Port

Posted by Gabe on October 30, 2011

One of the things that make Port so engaging as a topic within a topic in the wine world is the long and storied history it has. Most Port Houses have centuries of back story to look back on. However every so often a new player emerges that makes a mark. Churchill’s has been around for 30 years now and that’s actually pretty new in the world of Oporto. They have however built an impressive track record in their youth. Today I’ll look at one of their current releases.

The Churchill’s 10 Year Tawny Port was produced using fruit sourced at some of their prime vineyards. The average age of the wines used is of course 10 Years as the name and style indicates. This wine which is available in 500 ml bottles has a suggested retail price of $33.

The nose of this Tawny Port combines aromas of both fresh and dried fruits such as apricots along with a fruitcake spices. The palate is absolutely strewn with apricot, nectarine, roasted hazelnut and chestnut flavors as well as continued fruitcake spice characteristics. Hints of caramel and toffee emerge on the finish which has prodigious length and depth. Pair this Tawny Port with all sorts of sweet deserts or even better a cheese course.

There are several things that most impress me about this wine. The complexity and layers of flavor from the first sip to the end of the finish are one. Another is the overall balance of this wine which is simply perfect; it’s sweet to be sure but just the right amount. Along those lines this Tawny Port has good weight but is practically lithe in the manner it dances across your tongue and gently clings to the back of your throat. This is a knockout of a Tawny Port that I highly recommend for anyone with any level of interest in this style of wine. With the Holiday Season fast approaching this wine would be a tremendous choice to serve as an impressive crescendo at the end of fabulous meal with Family and Friends.

Posted in Port, Wine | Leave a Comment »

V. Sattui – 2008 Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon / 2009 Napa Valley Syrah

Posted by Gabe on October 28, 2011

V. Sattui Winery is a classic stop in Napa Valley. They offer a lively tasting room that features a wide array of wines made in many different styles. You’ll also find that V. Sattui offers snack and deli items as well as a picnic area outside. Most importantly though, they have been steadily turning out a stream of terrific wines from a combination of their own sites as well as from fruit sourced at well regarded vineyards. Today I’ll take a look at one wine from each of those categories.

The V. Sattui 2008 Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was produced using fruit sourced exclusively at this small famed Napa Valley Vineyard. This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. After fermentation it spent approximately 24 months in barrel. A limited number of cases were produced and this Cabernet Sauvignon has a suggested retail price of $65.

Red and black berry fruit aromas are prominent throughout the nose of this wine. Bits of toast and vanilla play a role here as well. Blackberry flavors are joined by hints of plum on the deeply layered palate of this wine. Espresso, minerals and dark cocoa are each part of a long, lusty, spicy finish that has excellent length and persistence. This wine is on the young side and will benefit from a couple of hours in a decanter if you’re going to drink it now. If you have some patience lay it down for 8-10 years and you’ll be rewarded with a truly beautiful expression of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.

The V. Sattui 2009 Napa Valley Syrah was produced from fruit sourced at two estate vineyard sites (Carsi & Vittorio’s). These vineyards feature different soil types, climates and distinct locales within Napa. This offering is 100% Syrah. Fermentation took place in stainless steel followed by 18 months of barrel aging in a combination of new (40%) and seasoned (60%), French (20%) and American (20%) oak. Just fewer than 2,000 cases of this wine were produced and it sells for $34.

Dark almost brooding berry fruit aromas leap from the nose of this 2009 Syrah. Wisps of leather and eucalyptus are present here as well. The palate of this Syrah is big and mouth-filling with loads of dark lush fruit flavors on display. Blueberry, blackberry and plum are all prominent and accompanied by a host of spices. The finish shows of rhubarb, blackberry, black raspberry and sour cherry characteristics as well as earth, white pepper and dark, dusty chocolate. This is a meaty, chewy mouthful of wine that’s begging to be paired with bold, flavorful foods. Decant it for about an hour for best results.

Both of these wines from V.Sattui are impressive in their own right. These are two more releases in a growing string of vineyard driven offerings. They have a large portfolio of wines to taste at V.Sattui and both the Estate and single vineyard sourced offerings are well worth experiencing.

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz, Wine | Leave a Comment »

Alex Elman – 2009 Malbec

Posted by Gabe on October 27, 2011

Malbec is the great red grape of Argentina. Certainly Cabernet Sauvignon and other red varietals flourish there as well; however the Malbecs are what most of us get really excited about. There’s a good reason for that; Argentina does Malbec the way Burgundy does Pinot Noir; better than anyone else. That said the styles vary greatly as do the intents of those wines. Today I’ll look a current release Malbec that is intended for everyday consumption.

The Alex Elman 2009 Malbec was produced using fruit sourced in the Mendoza region of Argentina. This offering is 100% varietal. Alexandra Elman founded her company to source and import sustainable offerings that represent her vision for what good wine should be. She strives to find wines that exhibit a sense of place and are un-manipulated expressions of their origin. Currently her portfolio includes four releases from the Mendoza region of Argentina. The 2009 Malbec has a suggested retail price of $12.99.

Deep, dark brooding fruit aromas leads the nose of this wine along with a wisp of vanilla bean and a gentle touch of green herbs. The palate is full flavored and gently layered with luscious, juicy blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, and dark plum flavors. Plum pudding and fruitcake spices kick in as well. The finish shows off chicory, white pepper and a chocolate sauce flavors. This Malbec drinks well all by itself and it will also pair well with roasted meats and hard cheeses to name a few choices. This is a well priced Malbec that delivers more flavor and distinction than many in the same price category.

Posted in Malbec, Wine | Leave a Comment »

Concha Y Toro – 2009 Marques de Casa Concha Carménère

Posted by Gabe on October 26, 2011

Wines from Chile are making an ever increasing impact with US wine lovers and one of the big reasons is Carménère. This red grape is grown in other areas of the world but it’s best known for the wines produced with it in Chile. Today I’ll look at the current vintage from well known producer Concha Y Toro.

The Concha Y Toro 2009 Marques de Casa Concha Carménère was produced using fruit sourced in the Peomo Vineyard which is located in the Rapel Valley of Chile. This offering is 100% Carménère. The fruit for this selection was harvested by hand. After fermentation this wine was aged over a period of 18 months in French oak barrels. This Carménère has a suggested retail price of $19.99.

Blackberry, eucalyptus and tobacco leaf aromas fill the nose of this 2009 Carménère. Crushed red cherry and plum flavors are joined by copious spice elements throughout the fresh and layered palate of this wine. Wisps of dark cocoa emerge on the finish along with dark fruit flavors that continue echoing with conviction along with hints of vanilla bean. This wine has firm acidity and it’s a natural partner for food.

Carménère is a full flavored grape that produces wines that are often intensely flavored with dark fruit. This example from Concha Y Toro is such a wine. For $19.99 (a bit less if you shop around) this is a fine example of the varietal that provides solid value and plenty of drinking pleasure. Consume this wine over the next couple of years while it’s flavors are young, vibrant, and exuberant.

Posted in Chile, Wine | Leave a Comment »

Win a Trip to Chile !

Posted by Gabe on October 25, 2011

As I’m always looking to alert readers to great opportunities I want to alert you to a contest being held by the Wines of Chile. The diversity of Chilean wines is as wide as that of any wine growing country. In that spirit this contest features five different Themed getaways to Chile.  So enter now for your chance to visit this terrific wine growing region !

The full text of the press release follows:

PICTURE YOURSELF IN CHILE: WIN A CUSTOMIZED TRIP COURTESY OF THE WINES OF CHILE EXPERIENCE

One Winner Will Choose Their Ideal Vacation From Five Themed Getaways to Chile

NEW YORK, NY The Wines of Chile Experience, supported by ProChile, announces Only in Chile, a competition in which one wine enthusiast will win a trip of their choice to Chilean wine country. Entrants will have the opportunity to explore the diversity of wine tourism available in Chile by capturing an image that expresses their take on each of five travel themes—For the Love of Chile, Wine & Stars, Urban Wine Retreat, Harvest Holiday and Horses & Huasos.

“Chile’s diverse landscape offers an expansive variety of travel experiences,” says Lori Tieszen, Executive Director of Wines of Chile USA. “Whether you enjoy taking the subway from the city to a winery or sipping a glass of wine under the clearest skies in the world, Chile has it all.”

Only in Chile can you go from the ski slopes to the beach, from the desert to Patagonia, and experience some of the best wines in the world—from cool climate whites to fullbodied reds. Now, the Wines of Chile Experience is inviting travel enthusiasts to learn that there is something for everyone in this beautiful country—whether it be star-gazing, exploring a historic city, taking a moonlit stroll on the beach, riding horseback through the Andes or participating in the yearly tradition of harvest.

Applicants to Only in Chile will be asked to upload an album to Facebook containing five photos, each one depicting their take on the five pre-determined travel themes. The top six entries will be chosen for a week-long voting period, at the end of which the creator of the album with the most votes will win their trip of choice to Chilean wine country.

The winner will select a five-night vacation inspired by one of the five themes—For the Love of Chile, Wine & Stars, Urban Wine Retreat, Harvest Holiday or Horses & Huasos.

The prize package includes two roundtrip flights to Chile, hotel stay, wine tours and activities, food and beverage, and is valued at US $15,000.

Applications for Only in Chile will be accepted from October 5, 2011 to November 4, 2011 and voting will take place between November 5, 2011 and November 11, 2011. Only one entry per person and Facebook account will be accepted. The top six entries will be chosen based on creativity, relevance and adherence to the contest rules. The winner—the album with the most votes—will be announced on or around November 14, 2011.

To learn more about the Wines of Chile Experience and to apply to Only in Chile please

visit www.facebook.com/WinesOfChile and click on the Only in Chile tab.

About The Wines of Chile Experience: The Wines of Chile Experience promotes wine tourism in Chile. A destination that offers endless opportunities for real exploration, wine country in Chile is poised to become the next true discovery. Based in New York City, the Wines of Chile Experience is part of Wines of Chile and supported by ProChile. For more information on the Wines of Chile

Experience, please visit www.chilewinetourism.com.

Posted in Wine | Leave a Comment »

Fonseca – 10 Year Old Tawny Port

Posted by Gabe on October 19, 2011

There are many basic styles of Port. Tawny Port is one of the most accessible; both in terms of easy drinkability and range of price points. Within that I find 10 years Tawny’s are often a sweet spot in terms of quality and value they deliver. This of course varies from producer to producer. Today I’ll look at the 10 Year Tawny from legendary producer Fonseca.

The Fonseca 10 Year Tawny Port was produced using fruit sourced in the classic Douro region of Portugal. This wine is assembled from various vintages and has an average age of 10 years. The aging of these wines took places in Casks prior to assembly. This wine has a suggested retail price of $39 and is currently on sale at Wine Chateau for $25.99.

The first thing that is distinct about the Fonseca 10 Year Tawny Port is its color; this wine has deeper, darker hue than is common. Aromas of toffee, toasted hazelnut and nutmeg all emerge from the nose of this wine. Mission Fig jam flavors lead the palate which shows additional nut characteristics and fruitcake spices in abundance. Vanilla crème brulee and dried raisin flavors round out the finish which has very good length and persistence.

This wine from Fonseca is a fine example of 10 Year Old Tawny Port. As noted above I find that the 10 Year Tawny’s are often where price, quality and overall value often intersect. That is definitely the case with this particular wine. If you’re a Tawny Port fan this is nice selection, if you’re new to the style this is a great jumping off point.

Posted in Port, Wine | Leave a Comment »

Attilio Ghisolfi – 2007 Barbera d’Alba Maggiora / 2005 Barolo DOCG

Posted by Gabe on October 14, 2011

Italy has a stunning number of varietals that great wines can be made with. They run the gamut in styles and flavor profiles. Today I’ll look at a couple of current releases from producer Attilio Ghisolfi that feature Nebbiolo and Barbera

The Attilio Ghisolfi 2007 Barbera d’Alba Maggiora was produced using fruit sourced at vineyards in Monfonte d’Alba. These vineyards sit approximately 400 meters above sea level. This offering is 100% Barbera. Vinification took place with wild yeasts. Oak aging occurred over 15 months in a combination of small French oak barrels (50%) and Large Slavonian oak (50%). Six months of temperature controlled bottle aging occurred prior to release. 840 cases of this wine were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $24.99.

Red and black berry fruit aromas are present on the nose of this wine. Dried cherry and cranberry flavors appear through the palate along with hints of herbs. Earth and spice mark the lengthy finish along with strawberry and rhubarb characteristics. This Barbera shows good structure marked by firm, racy acidity. This wine is built to be paired with food and will complement a wide array of flavorful options.

The Attilio Ghisolfi 2005 Barolo DOCG was produced using fruit sourced at southwest facing vineyards in the Visette section of Monfonte d’Alba. The average age of the vines is between 5 and 15 years. This offering is 100% Nebbiolo. Only wild yeasts were used and Vinification occurred over 10 days in a temperature controlled environment. Barrel aging took place over three years in large Slavonian oak. This was followed by 6 months of bottle aging prior to release. 1,500 six-bottle cases of this wine were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $44.99.

The highly perfumed nose of this 2005 Barolo features rose petals, red fruit and wisps of leather. Dried cherries, raspberries, pepper and nutmeg are prominently featured flavors on the deeply layered palate of this wine which is dominated by red fruit flavors tinged by black fruits chipping in. Chicory, earth, and bitter-leaning dark chocolate notes are all part of a super long finish that goes on and on long after the last sip of wine has been swallowed. This is an absolutely gorgeous example of Barolo that has excellent structure with firm tannins that yield with some air and fine acidity. If you’re going to drink this wine over the next year or so I recommend decanting it for 90 minutes to two hours. However don’t hesitate to lay it down for 10 to 15 years.

Both of these offerings from Attilio Ghisolfi represent well made wines that showcase their varietals well. They’re fairly priced for the quality they represent and are well worth seeking out when you’re looking to drink some terrific Italian Wines.

Posted in Barbera, Nebbiolo, Wine | 1 Comment »

Hawk and Horse Vineyards – 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon / 2006 Latigo Port Style Wine

Posted by Gabe on October 11, 2011

Hawk and Horse Vineyards was founded in 1999. Their first release was the 2004 vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon. They’re a hands-on family owned and operated winery that makes small lots of Cabernet Sauvignon and a dessert wine (also Cab based). Today I’ll look at their current releases.

The Hawk and Horse Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon was produced from fruit grown in the Red Hills section of Lake County California. This fruit comes from the winery’s 18 acre vineyard which is farmed both Organically and Biodynamically. Hawk and Horse Vineyards is a mountain estate with elevations reaching 2,200 at some points. This offering is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Barrel aging was accomplished over a period of 18 months in a combination of new and two year French oak. 430 cases of this Cabernet Sauvignon were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $65.

Aromas of rose petals, bramble and black raspberries fill the nose of this 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. Black and red cherry flavors play a significant role through the palate; black raspberry and blackberry characteristics, both fresh and dried are present as well. The long and impressive finish is marked by cranberries, sour cherries, rhubarb and earth along with dusty dark chocolate and spice. This is a well proportioned Cabernet that has firm tannins that yield with some aeration. The 2007 Cabernet from Hawk and Horse Vineyards is a beautiful wine that drinks well now and will also benefit from up to a decade of aging. If you’re drinking it today, I recommend decanting it for about 90 minutes and pairing it with something hearty for a winning combination.

The Hawk and Horse Vineyards 2007 Latigo is a Port Style wine. This fortified dessert wine was made using estate grown fruit. This wine is composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and fortified with varietal Brandy. Barrel aging occurred over 26 months in new French oak. 200 cases of this wine in 375ml splits were produced. It has a suggested retail price of $45.

Red and black raspberry jam aromas flood the nose of this 2006 Port style wine. A compote of berry flavors is present through the palate. Sweet wild strawberry flavors are of particular note. Characteristics of chocolate sauce tinged with caramel, toffee and bits of espresso emerge on the finish which has good length that leaves a lasting impression. This wine can easily serve as dessert all by itself. However it pairs beautifully with dark chocolate as well as cheesecake to name a few options. 

Lake County is a California region that’s been on the climb for a number of years now. There are certain varietals that really thrive there and Cabernet Sauvignon is certainly amongst them. If you like classically styled Cabernet that you can drink now or lay down for awhile made in small boutique level quantities, this offering is for you. Latigo the dessert wine is a perfect counterpoint. Made from the same varietal grown in the same vineyard it showcases a completely different style of winemaking. Both are delicious in their own right and they are more than fairly priced for the quality they offer. These are well worth seeking out.

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Dessert Wines, Wine | Leave a Comment »

Montecillo – 2003 Rioja Gran Reserva

Posted by Gabe on October 9, 2011

Rioja is the most recognizable name in Spanish wine. Over the last decade many other Spanish regions have made inroads on US shelves, many of them producing distinguished wines. However for many, me included, it’s the wines of Rioja we first think of when Spain comes to mind. The wins of Rioja hit our shores with some age already on them and they’re generally terrific values; what’s not to like. Today I’ll look at the current release of a Gran Reserva from Montecillo, one of the first Spanish producers to hit my radar when I started pursuing wines from Spain about 15 years ago.

The Montecillo 2003 Gran Reserva was produced from fruit sourced in the Rioja Alta region of Spain. This offering is 100% Tempranillo. After picking the fruit was transported to the winery in small crates. Fermentation took place in a temperature controlled environment. After Malolactic fermentation the wine was racked and transferred to barrel. Oak aging occurred over a period of 24 months in untoasted French barrels. Several years of bottle aging followed prior to release. This offering has a suggested retail price of $25.

Dark berry fruit, herbs, toast and rose petal aromas all waft with conviction from the nose of this 2003 Gran Reserva. Both red and black cherries appear in droves forming the core of this Rioja’s palate. Copious quantities of spices such as black pepper and nutmeg appear as well. Espresso and earth notes are joined by bits of licorice and kirsch liqueur on the finish which has terrific length and persistence. Firm tannins and acidity provide structure and balance. This wine is quite tasty by itself but really shines when paired with food, roasted meats in particular.

This wine from Montecillo is a classic example of a Gran Reserva. It represents a tremendous value due to the excellent complexity and length of palate it demonstrates. This wine is absolutely delicious now but there’s no rush to drink it; this wine will age effortlessly in your cellar for the next decade or so.

Posted in Tempranillo, Wine | Leave a Comment »

Primus by Veramonte – 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon / 2009 The Blend

Posted by Gabe on October 4, 2011

Veramonte has been a consistent source of quality wines from Chile for over 10 years. The two wines in particular that have stood out to me over and over again for quite awhile are the Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc and the Primus Blend. Of late more selections have been added under the Primus umbrella. Today I’ll take a look at the brand new release Cabernet Sauvignon and the latest vintage of The Blend.

The Primus 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon was produced using fruit grown in the Marchigue Vineyards in Colchagua Valley. In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon (92%) this wine also contains a small amount of Syrah (8%). After the fruit was picked the grapes under went two manual sorts to ensure careful bunch selection. Aging was accomplished over 15 months in French oak; 25% of the barrels were new. This wine has a suggested retail price of $19.99.

Aromas of plums, violets and black raspberries fill the nose of this 2009 Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. A host of dark, brooding fruit flavors fills the palate of this wine. Blackberry, black currant and blueberry are of note. Hints of pencil lead creep in as well. The finish of this Cabernet, which has good length for the price point, shows off kirsch liqueur, sweet dark chocolate, black tea, and espresso notes. This wine has soft, supple tannins and firm acidity. This Cabernet is delicious both by itself and paired with things like roasted meats or hard cheeses.

The Primus 2008 “The Blend” was produced using fruit grown and sourced in Chile’s Colchagua Valley. This offering combines Cabernet Sauvignon (44%), Syrah (21%), Carmenère (19%) and Merlot (15%). Barrel aging was accomplished over 14 months in French oak; 25% of them were new. This wine has a suggested retail price of $19.99.

Red raspberry, bramble, green herb and hints of licorice are all part of the inviting nose on this 2008 blend. Strawberry and rhubarb characteristics along with a core of spices form the backbone of the tasty and multi-layered palate of this wine. Sour black fruit and continued herbs emerge on the finish. This wine has a lengthy close that’s smooth and lush with a bit of racy acidity punctuating it. This is an excellent food wine that would be particularly suited for southern Italian cuisine.

This was the first time I tried the Primus Cabernet Sauvignon and I was glad to see that it’s another well made wine in the Veramonte line that provides good varietal character and excellent value. The Primus Blend continues to impress. It’s been a consistent value year after year, offering lots of bang for the buck. The 2008 continues that trend. Check these wines out, you’ll be glad you did.

Posted in Blends, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Chile, Merlot, Syrah/Shiraz, Wine | Leave a Comment »

 
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