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Wine: Reviews, Thoughts & Culture

Archive for February, 2012

Craggy Range 2010 Pinot Noir “Te Muna Road”

Posted by Gabe on February 21, 2012

The Craggy Range 2010 Pinot Noir is a single vineyard effort. All of the fruit for this wine is from the Te Muna Road Vineyard which is located in the Martinborough region of New Zealand. The fruit for this wine (100% Pinot Noir) was hand harvested. It was fermented in open top stainless steel tanks and inoculated with native yeasts. Oak aging was accomplished over 9 months in small barrels; 31% of them were new. This wine is available in select countries around the world and it has a suggested retail price of $45.99.

This Pinot Noir is a tad reticent when you first open it. About 30 minutes of air in the decanter really does the trick allowing this wine to come into its own. Aromas of mushroom, cherry and strawberry are all present. The palate is intricately layered and loaded with oodles of appealing flavors; wild strawberry, bing and black cherry, cardamom and coriander are all present. Earth, sour cherry, rhubarb, white pepper and hints of cola are on display throughout the long and persistent finish.

New Zealand first made its mark by showing the world what it can do with Sauvignon Blanc. Of late we’ve also been lucky to be seeing more and more Pinot Noir’s from New Zealand on our shelves. This single vineyard selection from Craggy Range is an exceptionally nice example of the varietal. It’s delicious now with a touch of air and will improve in the bottle over the next 4-7 years. If you like Pinot’s that are pure and loaded with expressive character, the Te Muna Road is one you should aim to try.

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Cupcake Vineyards – Prosecco D.O.C. (NV) / 2010 Angel Food

Posted by Gabe on February 13, 2012

Cupcake Vineyards is based in California but sources fruit all over the world. Whether it’s Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or Malbec from Argentina they look to key spots for particular grapes when acquiring fruit. Over the last couple of years I’ve had their wines on numerous occasions and have found that they’re delivering consistent quality in wines that retail for under $15. Today I’ll look at two whites that would both be perfectly suited to serve on Valentines Day. And with the prices so reasonable, there’s no reason not to grab both, it is a holiday after all.

The Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco D.O.C. (NV) was produced using 100% Glera grapes. This wine was made utilizing the Charmat method. 20,000 cases of this sparkling wine were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $13.99. White melon and citrus aromas emerge from the nose of this Prosecco. This wine has a lovely mouth-feel and a fresh lively palate that shows off honeydew, stone fruits and citrus plentifully. The finish is crisp and refreshing with a pleasing final lemony note that begs you back for additional sips. This is a light and delightful Prosecco that drinks beautifully all by itself but will also work nicely with appetizers, a cheese course or certain desserts. The Cupcake Prosecco would be a nice choice to either begin or end the Valentine’s Day celebration with.

The Cupcake Vineyards 2010 Angel Food was produced using fruit sourced throughout California. This wine is a proprietary blend of white varietals with the largest contribution coming from Chardonnay. Each varietal was crushed and fermented separately after which the final blend was assembled. The blended wine was then barrel aged. 10,000 cases of this offering were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $13.99. Yellow Delicious and Granny Smith Apple aromas are omnipresent on the nose of this 2010 blend where they’re joined by a bevy of baker’s spices.Bartlett pear, vanilla bean, continued apple characteristics, clove and nutmeg are each in evidence throughout the palate of the 2010 Angel Food. The finish is lush and creamy with a pleasing conclusion that made me want to keep on drinking. This wine is fruity and gently layered. While it’s a completely different wine of course, Angel Food is as good of a value as the Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc which has impressed me for several years now. For right around $10 if you shop around this wine is a party in a bottle. There are countless wines in the “white blend” category coming out of California. Angel Food is going to be hard to beat on QPR. It’s a super appealing wine that will work equally well on its own or paired with food. Angel Food knocks out long standing blends, like “Conundrum” that sell for twice as much, on value. Angel Food is a great choice to serve on Valentine’s Day with your main meal.

Both of these wines continue the growing trend of Cupcake Vineyards providing value driven wines that are both appealing and well made in their respective categories. By sourcing fruit all over the world they’re building a portfolio of diverse wines affordable for everyday drinking that consumers can count on. So whether it is for Valentine’s Day or it’s next tuesday with some takeout, I highly reccomend considering these releases from Cupcake Vineyards as everyday selections or house wines. Your tastebuds will thank you.

Posted in Blends, Sparkling Wine | Leave a Comment »

Campo Viejo – 2010 Tempranillo

Posted by Gabe on February 6, 2012

The Campo Viejo 2010 Tempranillo was produced from fruit sourced in several distinct areas within Rioja. This wine is 100% Tempranillo. Fermentation took place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Barrel aging occurred over four months in American oak. It was also bottle aged prior to release. This wine is widely available and has a suggested retail price of $9.99.

Cherry, coriander and vanilla aromas fill the nose of this 2010 Tempranillo. Raspberry, black cherry and red plum flavors are all in evidence throughout the palate. They’re accompanied by copious spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper. Earth, hints of dusty cocoa, rhubarb and a touch of kirsch liqueur emerge on the finish which has good length. Firm acidity frames the entire wine and helps make it a standout partner for a wide array of foods. Whether you’re enjoying something as simple as cheese plate or as involved as a slow cooked roast this Tempranillo will serve as an excellent accompaniment.

Spanish wines have held a spot on US shelves for a very long time now. The wines of Rioja specifically have been here longer than those of other regions. As time has passed we have also seen more and more Spanish offerings that are in the premium and super premium categories. That’s been a real boon for those of us who love Spanish wine. Just as importantly we continue to see terrific value wines that most people can reasonably afford on a regular basis. You can count this Tempranillo from Campo Viejo amongst their number. If you’re looking for a Rioja as a house wine this offering is a solid bet.

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Trapiche Broquel – 2009 Bonarda

Posted by Gabe on February 2, 2012

As terrific as it is to have new names in wine to sample, it’s important to have some standbys. When it comes to wines from Argentina, Trapiche is one of the names I have come to rely on. Regardless of price point they consistently bring a quality wine to market that offers bang for the buck. Today I’ll look at the current vintage of Bonarda from their Broquel line.

Trapiche Broquel 2009 Bonarda is a single vineyard effort. The fruit was sourced at the Santa Rosa Vineyard which is within the winery’s estate in Mendoza. This vineyard sits at an elevation o 3,000 feet. The fruit was hand harvested. After sorting and destemming it was macerated and fermented in small concrete vats for approximately 25 days. Barrel aging took place over 12 months in a combination of new French and American oak. This wine is available nationally and most often sells for right around $15.

Deep, dark plum aromas flow with conviction from the nose of this Bonarda. The palate is substantial in weight, loaded with black and purple fruits. Raspberries, cherries, plums and blueberries are all present. Hints of smoked meat are present as well as copious quantities of spice. Vanilla and sour blackberry flavors emerge on the finish which has above average length. Excellent acidity balances the hefty palate and bold fruits. This wine is a natural partner for a particularly wide array of foods. It’s also quite enjoyable on its own. This is one of many well priced, wines from Trapiche that deliver consistent value and quality.

Posted in Bonarda, Wine | Leave a Comment »

 
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