VIA thanks wine tasting supporters – Cape Gazette

VIA thanks wine tasting supporters
Cape Gazette
The Village Improvement Association of Rehoboth Beach had a very successful Holiday Wine Tasting Fundraiser for the Capital Campaign November 22. As you have reported in past issues of the Gazette, our historic clubhouse had a major renovation and 

Source: wine tasting – Google News


When Should You Not Be Allowed to Be Biodynamic?

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Spraying biodynamic teas at Seresin Vineyards, Marlborough, NZ

As the father of a kindergartener it will come as no surprise to you that of late I have been immersed in a world of debate and discussion around the many issues that shape educational, health, and social policy, at least as five-year-olds are concerned. Not only that, as a family we have been subject to any number of new restrictions and requirements that come from participating in the particular school system that we have chosen to patronize.

One of those new requirements is as simple as it is blunt. In order to enroll our daughter in the school of our choice she must be fully immunized against all of the common contagious childhood diseases for which we have proven vaccines. This requirement is as much for all the other children as it is for our daughter, and consequently if we were not to comply, the consequences would be quite simple: we wouldn’t be able to send our daughter to the school she attends.

Society has long depended upon a web of conventions and regulations that promote the peace, harmony, and health of the society as a whole. Indeed, one could say that the rise and adoption of such social compacts and laws represents the genesis of anything called society in the first place.

While a certain fringe debate the point, it is altogether reasonable to expect, and in some circumstances require, members of a society or a community to make choices in their own lives that confer an equal or greater benefit to the society as a whole. Whether it means throwing our garbage in receptacles instead of on our lawns, using toilets instead of any bare patch of ground, or immunizing ourselves and children against infectious disease, we do so, and should do so because it is better for everyone if we do. In the United States at least, Religious beliefs, no matter how stringent, are not enough to justify behaviors to the contrary according a number of legal rulings.

Even though it is not as compulsory as a polio vaccine, everyone should get flu shots for the same reason. They not only reduce your chances of getting the flu, they make it that much less likely that other people will get it, too.

Such thinking is no doubt behind the recent pending prosecution of Beaune winemaker Emmanuel Giboulot, who according to Decanter stands to be charged €30,000 and serve a six-month prison term because he refuses to treat his vineyards in Burgundy for a disease known as Flavesence Dorée.

Giboulot farms his vines biodynamically, a farming regimen and philosophy that fundamendally rejects the use of the kind of synthetic pesticide that the commune of Beaune is insisting he use on his vines.

Flavesence dorée is an incurable grapevine disease that is spread by small insects called leafhoppers. If these insects munch on the leaves of an infected plant, and then move to another vine, they transmit the bacteria which cause the disease, much as mosquitos transmit malaria in humans.

When a vine is infected by Flavesence Dorée, the leaves yellow and the grapes shrivel before ripening. It can take some time before the disease manifests fully in the vine, but when it does fully, it almost always makes the vine worthless and unproductive, at least as far as wine is concerned.

Almost half of the entire country of France is under a compulsory edict to apply insecticides to its vineyards to kill leafhoppers in an attempt to slow the spread and impact of the disease.

But as a biodynamic farmer, Giboulot understandably opposes the use of this insecticide, and has so far refused to apply it to his vineyards, even when ordered to do so by the local equivalent of the ministry of agriculture.

On the surface, this situation seems identical to requiring all children to be immunized before attending school. Giboulot’s position could easily be seen as the analogue of Christian Scientist parents who prefer to rely on faith healing rather than let their child with cancer see a traditional doctor. Society has decided that this is unacceptable.

The catch here is that this insecticide that Giboulot is being asked to spray doesn’t actually solve the problem. Does it partially counter the spread of the disease by killing leafhoppers? Yes. Is it 100% effective? Far from it, much less than a common flu shot, let alone curing the disease. It seems as much, if not more spread of the disease occurs when infected plant material is used to plant new vineyards. Interestingly, carefully treating grapevine cuttings with hot water can kill the disease, a practice that is now becoming de rigeur in France.

France is not the only country dealing with the threat of Flavesence Dorée and in many other countries, compulsory spraying of insecticide has not been adopted as the de facto solution. Austria, for instance, has stated quite clearly that such an approach doesn’t make sense.

In light of this, the threat to prosecute Giboulot seems a lot more dubious. Can we really tell winemakers that they can’t be biodynamic or organic when we think that by violating their philosophy of winemaking they might benefit the larger winegrowing community as a whole. It’s not an easy question to answer in black and white terms.

While some communities have decided to legislate the use of proven cures to the scourges that crippled and decimated our populations in prior centuries, as well as to prevent smoking in restaurants, none have yet threatened to throw you in jail for failing to get a flu shot or for smoking on the sidewalk.

Currently the only (temporary) solution for Flavesence Dorée seems to be to rip out the vines and replace them with vines that aren’t infected. Which I’m sure Giboulot would rather do than douse his vineyards with chemicals.


Emmanuel Giboulot and his vineyards next to more conventional plantings. Photo by Betrand Celce.
Read about Bert’s visit to Giboulot here.

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Origin: Vinography: A Wine Blog

A Simple Emergency Guide to Thanksgiving Wines

Thanksgiving for all intents and purposes has arrived. Sure there’s some last minute shopping you might have to do but the guests are invited, the menu is planned, the table setting prepared and the wine purchased. Right?

Well if not you have tons of suggestions ranging from the more traditional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which continue to be quite appropriate even when faced with the au courant notion that the wine you choose doesn’t make a difference, just drink what you like. Which, as felicitous as that sounds, and as easy as that might make my job, is a silly stance for someone whose job it is to pair wines with food. Just tell us you don’t want to write yet another Thanksgiving pairing article and be done with it. You might make people feel good about their choices but you’re not really helping them make better choices when you adopt this stance.

That’s what i want to do; help you make better choices. It’s a little late in the game for specific wine recommendations but here’s an easy guide to what works and why with your upcoming Thanksgiving feast! Now you can go to the store and buy what you like!

Let’s start with the obvious choice. Chardonnay is incredibly popular for a reason. People love it and it can work with a wide variety of recipes. Often made in a rich style, today is not the day for so-called naked versions, buttery, toasty and often just perceptibly sweet Chardonnay is a fine match for the flavors of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. With no perceptible tannins it’s also a fine solution for spicier versions. Your typical Chardonnay is a wonderful match for the roasted, buttery flavors of a well cooked turkey.

A Baker’s Dozen: $30 Chardonnay

Pinot Gris

Pinot gris retains the richness of Chardonnay though without the oak influence. When produced in Alsace, and occasionally elsewhere, the grape imparts it’s own spicy character to the finished wine which is rich with apple fruit. It work just as well with your Thanksgiving meal yet passes muster with your oak-o-phobe friends. Pinot Gris is also, for lack of a better word, autumnal. It’s got a flavor profile filled with spice, orchard fruit, and dried herb elements that make it a natural fit this time of year.

Why Alsace Pinot Gris is it’s own thing


Riesling is a tricky beast, primarily because it is produced in versions that range from bone dry to syrupy sweet. If you find one that is just a touch sweet, Kabinett of Halb-trocken from Germany or under medium dry from the new world you will probably have a zesty, fruity wine. pretty much perfect for your upcoming meal. Riesling has higher acids than Chardonnay or Pinot Gris, which means it can cut through more richness and fat. Keep that in mind if you’ve just squished a pound of butter under the skin of your bird and are getting ready to pack it’s bottom with fistfuls of sausage.


Pinot Noir

Recommending Pinot Noir is like recommending a car to someone, just a generic car. Pinot is such a broad category of wines that one really has to distinguish between the fruity , lean style of Central Otago, versus the fruity rich style of the Russian River valley, or the lean savory style coming from Oregon. As you might be able to tell from that simple statement not every wine is appropriate for Thanksgiving. What makes Pinot the easy recommendation though is that it is almost always relatively higher in acid and low in tannin when compared to other red wines, and it retains a certain sense of delicacy. All of that makes Pinot easy to drink and easy to pair with food, though it can be overwhelmed when hints get particularly rich or spicy.



As you might have noticed, recently I’ve been going on about Grenache. Now to be clear Grenache is not my favorite grape or wine but what leaves me wanting more is exactly what so many people seem to love about wines. Grenache is big yet not heavy, fruity to the core and packed with almost candied strawberry and raspberry fruit flavors. Like Pinot it’s a lower tannin grape, though it can also be low in acidity at times. That makes it a bit tougher to pair with foods but when your hunk that Cotes du Rhone are Grenache based wines you’ll realize it’s not that difficult after all. The only knock on Grenache is that it can sometimes be high in alcohol, which makes pairing them with spicier foods an occasional challenge.  I think that when most people try Grenache they love it and it’s sweet, fruity character is an excellent match for the sweet, fruity flavors of many Thanksgiving day tables.



Zinfandel, being our all American grape is a classic Turkey Day recommendation. I happen to like the pairing but suggest that you look for a lighter, simpler version since the extreme, potty and dried fruit stele will simple overwhelm your meal. Something middle of the rood tends to be as fruity as Grenache, but isn a darker vein with blackberry fruit. Acidity is usually higher than with Grenache, though not as high as Pinot Noir, and it’s the most tannic of the three red varieties discussed here. It’s a really good choice for rich, intense meals and loves things like bacon or ham accented stuffings and vegetables.



And finally there is Lambrusco, that sparkling red wine from Italy. If you are looking for the best food and wine pairing for Thanksgiving, this is probably it. Sometimes subtly sweet, even more if that’s your thing, bright, earthy, and bubbly, Lambrusco can take on all meals perfectly. The only problem is that you’ll be showing up with fizzy red wine for dinner and that freaks people out. But consider this. Lambrusco is low in tannins, can have that dash of sugar, has plenty of acid and bubbles. It’s perfect for handling spicy, salty, greasy foods with aplomb

Ultimately Thanksgiving tends to be more about tradition than anything else and you buy what you’ve bought in the past. I’m all for tradition, but if you could find a better version of what you’ve bought in the past that would make an already great feast just that much better. Here’s to incremental improvement.

Happy Thanksgiving folks!

By: Snooth – Articles

Last Minute Wines

You haven’t bought your wine for Thanksgiving yet and now you’re panicking aren’t you? Well you don’t have. Even if you know next to nothing about wine there are plenty of safe bets out there amongst the nationally distributed wines for you to make a great choice and bring a wine to dinner that will make most everyone happy.

There are two keys to wine pairing success. The first is the science and art of food and wine pairing. We do this behind black curtains in secret societies that require masks to be worn at all times, though pants curiously enough are optional.

​There is also another strategy to take when one is in dire need of wine. Buy what you like, or more appropriately if you’re a guest, buy what the host likes. We may not be intimately familiar with our host’s palate but consider this. Chardonnay is the most popular white wine in America. Killer choice for Thanksgiving too. Who knew? So relax and take a look at some widely available wines that will be just perfect tomorrow with the turkey, or whenever you or your host gets around to drinking it.

Credit: Snooth – Articles

Three Keys to In-store Displays

As the holiday season bears down on us it’s worth taking some time to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to maximize the effects of your in-store displays. While we all love helping our customers, clear throat now, when you get swamped during the holidays, often with customers that you only see once or twice a year, you know you’re going to need some help. It’s easy to suggest hiring seasonal help, but that is not always practical or feasible, so we rely on displays to help us help our customers.


In order for displays to be truly effective they need to do three things very clearly.


1- They have to be easily noticed.

2 -They have to be easy to understand.

3- They have to be helpful.


Let’s take a look at how you can make the most of your in-store displays while satisfying these three basic demands.

Make it eye catching  


This is obvious and easy to understand. Your displays need to attract attention to themselves. So how do you do that? Take advantage of lighting, making sure your displays are well lit and highlighted. Use original backgrounds, or a change in backgrounds to help them stand out further. And for real attention grabbing there is recall.


Triggering recall, one of the greatest assets of the human mind, is one of the basic tenets of advertising. Get someone to associate a product with happy days as a child or grandma’s cooking and you are more than halfway to a sale. During the holidays we all try to trigger recall of happy holidays past. here it’s helpful to know your clientele and cater to them. The thanksgiving table in Arizona probably looks different than one you might encounter in Wisconsin. Make an effort to design your displays using local color and traditions instead of simply adopting the national norms.


One last point here on triggering recall. the sense of smell is the most powerful recall trigger we have. Take advantage of it. Use scented pinecones or baking spices to add aroma to your display. Even better, mull some wine if you can and if it’s appropriate for your clientele. Leave a fruit display out that resembles a festive centerpiece. Sure some people might touch it and even take a piece of fruit but that’s what you want. You want people to interact with your displays. You want to grab their attention and hold it.


Make it Easy to Understand 


Now that you have the customer’s attention make the information you’re giving them easy to understand. Our brains work in predictable ways. We read left to right and up to down so organize your display this way. Put more expensive options on the left, people rarely buy the first item they see when shopping, and putting the more expensive options to the right where people’s eyes come to rest when scanning a shelf halps them to stand out more.


Typically a person at rest can comfortably scan about 2.5 feet worth of shelf or display space so keep that in mind when designing your in store displays as well. Keep your displays easy to see by starting them above knee level and capping them at roughly eye level. Lower priced merchandise should be lower down since we are lazy creatures by nature and tend to take what’s convenient over that which requires even the little additional effort of bending to view and grab.


Make it Useful


This is the most important thing you as  a merchandiser can do. Make your content pertinent to your consumer. One issue we all run into is that we tend to forget who that is. Your wine savvy customers are not the ones you need to worry about during the holidays. It’s those one or two time a year customers who are lost among all the selections on your shelves. Make you signage and display merchandising speak to them with simple messages that are helpful.


A big sign picturing a Thanksgiving feast with simple messages that help to say these wines go with Turkey are all you really need to place over a Thanksgiving display, and while it’s a little late for that that’s just an example we can use moving towards the end of the year. Do something similar for New Years. Use your usual New Year’s graphics and underneath create three displays labeled, sweet, fruity, and dry and organize your sparkling wines underneath.


The customers coming in looking specificaly for Cava, or Prosecco or Champagne can probably manage your shelves just fine, you’re talking to the consumer who wants a $12 bottle of fruity sparkling wine when you build your in-store displays. Help them a little by explaining what it means to be a dry sparkling wine, or a fruity sparkling wine, don’t intimidate them with too much to read to too much detail. We can teach them about dosage next year.


The point and purpose of in-store displays is to help consumers feel confident about their purchases. They have come to your store or winery because they already though that would be the best place to shop for wine. You’re halfway home. Now just help them to make the purchase that is right for them.


The best thing you can do to actually make the displays useful is to combine them with a tasting. Take our sparking wine example. Pour one of each from sweet, fruity and dry and watch the lightbulbs go off as consumers begin to understand what you are talking about. Nothing sells wine better than putting it in the consumer’s mouth and nothing works to build confidence and loyalty like honest communication, fair pricing, and a little education.


Wishing everyone a healthy, happy, and prosperous Holiday season!


Via: Snooth – Articles

Cru Beaujolais

Every year about this time the Beaujolais hype machine kicks into high gear getting us all ready for the latest and greatest vintage of Nouveau. Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy a glass of nouveau now and again and they do make for a perfectly fine pairing with Thanksgiving meals, but in all honesty I wish they were released in the late spring when my diet is filled with lighter, fresher fare best suited to these simple and fresh wines.

The nouveau machine also tends to divert attention away from the more serious side of Beaujolais; the crus. I have written fairly extensively about the crus in Exploring the Beaujolais Region and thought this might be a fine time to revisit the topic and discuss the current vintages while we’re at it. In front of me I have 9 bottlings from Georges Duboeuf, all 2011s. It’s not even the current vintage you say? In fact it is not. I am running a vintage behind but one point I would like to make by tasting these wines now is that quality Beaujolais, unlike nouveau, has a life that extends beyond the new year. Especially in a vintage like 2011 which is arguably the finest vintage the region has enjoyed in well over a decade with wines that are zesty and ripe, perfectly balanced with pure fruit suspended on an elegant framework that promises to age very well indeed. 

That was a little extreme,  back-handing nouveau like that. Good nouveau lasts well through the spring following production, even longer in exceptional cases, but your everyday Beaujolais, from village right through the most age worthy Crus improves with a year or three in the bottle and often is at peak 5 year or further from the vintage. Of course cru, producer and vintage matter, but much of the wine drinking public dismisses Beaujolais based on their experiences with its most widely available ambassador, and as is often the case, a wrong impression is the result.


I am not advocating for Duboeuf here, though they were kind enough to supply the wine for this tasting. The fact that I have so many crus from the same vintage and subjected to much the same viticulture and winemaking should offer valuable insight into the terroir available from each site. That, along with a healthy respect for the ability of quality beaujolais to age and improve in the glass is what I hope to share with you today. 


Beaujolais is a lovely and important wine whose brand has been cheapened by the nouveau phenomenon, which one day served a vital purpose keeping even small producers afloat. Today it’s time to start taking Beaujolais more seriously and offering it the respect we offer every other world class wine. Buy them, cellar them, drink them, and share them. that is what fine wine is all about!



And a little about the vintages you are likely to encounter in the marketplace today.


2013 was a tough vintage with plenty of rain and cooler temperatures so expect restrained wines. Not always an advantage when restraint is so inherent in the wines to begin with. 


2012 is turning out to be a classic if light Beaujolais vintage with supple wines that highlight the freshness and elegance Gamay is capable of. Not at the level of the preceding three vintages with a tough growing season, the lower yields allowed producers to bottle friendly, ripe wines in the face of difficult weather. 


2011 is probably the best all around vintage of the past decade or so. Big, ripely fruited wines at modest alcohol levels provide the best of both worlds. Really a fine vintage about elegance and balance that is wonderful to explore today but will reward additional cellaring.


2010 produced rather fruity and round wines, delicious and of high quality but without the structure and potential for complexity of either 2009 or 2011. Still, there is something to be said for these wines today because they remain quite well fruited, supple and delicious.  


2009 is a grand vintage and if it wasn’t for the quality of the 2011 it would clearly be the leading candidate for vintage of the last decade. Very similar to 2011 though a bit riper and more alcoholic, not that that is often a problem with Beaujolais which typically hovers around 13%. These are wines that are finely structured as well, though I give the nod to the 2011s for their slightly more elegant and racier character. 




Spicy and a bit earthy on the nose with aromas of black grapes and jammy strawberry fruit. Light fresh and a bit dilute in the mouth with some finely ripe tannins adding a bit of mouthgrab to the easygoing cherry/strawberry flavors that pick up some earthy and vaguely herbal nuance on the backend. and through the short, somewhat sharp finish. 83pts



Spicy and floral on the nose with plenty of herbal accents to the soft strawberry fruit. very broad and wide open in the mouth with raspberries and strawberries. Fruity and simple but fresh and with enough structure to remain firm in the mouth though this is a touch creamy at times. 85pts



Rather focused on the nose with a hint of pork fat picking up lavender and provencal spice notes layered over grapy fruit with a hint of thistle adding some astringency to the nose. Supple and fairly rich on entry, there’s hint of blue fruit here and the spice of the nose falls mostly to the rar of the mouth where a little dusty earthy tones helps cut the fruit. Pretty fresh with blue fruits on the moderately finish as well along with dusty little tannins and some fresh acidity that bode well for the future.  86pts



Bright thistle, rose petal and soil tones frame an attractive core of red fruit. Showing a little power and depth on the palate this has a fair amount of fruit tannin supporting bright and fresh red cherry and blue fruit flavors that are framed with hints of sweet herbs and a little mineral edge that drives the fairly long and focused finish. perhaps a little pasty in the mouth with extract, this is pretty easy to enjoy today yet it might improve in the cellar.  87pts



Intense and oper fumed with herb stem, thistle, beet root aromas layered over a base of roasted raspberry fruit. Bright, crisp and rather transparent in the mouth this shows off some almost black raspberry fruit framed with softly toasty notes and a gentle earthiness. lue fruit aromas emerge on the backend along with some beet root notes all leading to a fresh, clean and simple finish with lovely raspberry notes. Really lovely already. 87pts



Decidedly beefy on the nose with earthy and autumnal accents to the dark cherry berry fruit. Moderately rich on entry this shows off attractive structure supporting slightly chewy mineral flecked dark berry fruits. There’s a late arriving beefy note along with some dried strawberry and nuanced dried herb flavors on the backend that turn a bit floral and violetty on the moderately long and firm finish. This can certainly improve in the cellar. 88pts



Less beefy than the house bottling this none the less shows some bloody, meaty aromas paired with chamomile and dried herb aromas over a base of wild berry fruits. A bit blocky in the mouth, this has bright acidity adding a soft orange rind cast the the wild strawberry fruits on the palate and the tannins still show a bit of firmness warranting another year or two in the cellar. The finish is tight and a touch austere, very firm and ultimately rather long and frankly elegant even though there is a toughness to the tannins. For the future. 88pts



A bit beefy but also mushroomy and with some beetroot adding lovely complexity along with violets and wonderfully fresh red berry fruit. Rich and almost full bodied int he mouth this has fine acidity and some lovely ripe tannins but they are all enmeshed in this dense robe of wild blackberry and currant fruit. there’s not a lot of detail here, dominated as this is by fruit at the moment but the long finish reveals lovely spice notes along with a wonderfully dense bed of firm ripe tannins underpinning everything. A lusty glass of Beaujolais. 89pts



Rather floral on the nose with an edge of caramel/black licorice candy  framing the core of juniper tinged wild black and red fruits all laid over a bit or dark moist earth. legnat on entry, this has lovely ripe fruit, blackberry tinged aromatic in the mouth along with subtle african violet, licorice and earthy tones. Lively acidity brighten the palate and the tannins, slightly raw and stemmy add a zesty underlay to the fruit. Finishing very cleanly and fresh with real energy and emerging elegance this is drinking perfectly today. 90pts


Hat Tip To: Snooth – Articles

A Baker’s Dozen: $30 Chardonnay

It’s always a good time to be talking about Chardonnay, but never better than now. As we lead into the holidays many will be faced with making the daunting choice of bringing a bottle or two to dinner. It’s a perilous responsibility fraught with potential for disaster, but it doesn’t have to be.


When in this position stop trying to be the hero and play the numbers. The numbers say that Chardonnay continues to be the most popular white wine in the country. It’s usually pretty food friendly after all, particularly with the buttery turkey that is looming in our future. While I prefer to pair wine with the stuffing and accoutrements that surround the bird, when you are an invitee you often are walking into dinner blind, so pairing the wine with the bird is a safe and wise route to take. Picking one that most people seem to enjoy makes the choice so safe it’s bordering on bland, but this isn’t about you now is it?

And finally, while you don’t have to spend about $30 to get a fine bottle of Chardonnay, this is roughly the price where you start getting great bottles of Chardonnay, or most any wine for that matter. There just isn’t that much difference between $30 and $50 bottles of wine so if you find a great $30 bottle of wine, enjoy it for what it offers and recognize it as the great value that it is. And of course share it with friends and family this holiday season. So without further ado, $30 Chardonnays worthy of your attention this holiday season.




A little funky and slightly cheese on the nose which carries with it the aromas of old wood and freshly crushed fruit, picking up nuanced smoke, herb stem and lime aromas as it opens. Bright and fantastically vivid on entry, this is all about tart citrus and apple fruit flavors and a very fine base of dried herbs, flowers and soil tones. Nuanced and complex this elegant offering, dances lightly on the palate with admirable purity  and refreshing brightness finishing with an earthy cast to the fresh citrus and pineapple flavors. Subtle and pure. 92pts



Spicy and cool on the nose with subtle nutty oak notes joining fresh citrus and golden apple fruit on the nose. Moderately large scaled in the mouth but at the same time nicely nervy with fine integrated acidity that is probably higher than one thinks though it is so nicely buffered by the fruit. A hint of creaminess develops with air, making this both soft and bright in the mouth with flavors of key lime pie and bitter apples that makes this particularly food friendly. The finish recalls the nose with a lovely spice aromatic quality. This is rather elegant consider how big it is and offers impressively pure and precise flavors marked by well judged oak. 92pts



Tight on the nose and a bit youthfully grapy with fine oak framing notes and a core of lime pith and heirloom apple fruits. Tight and focused in the mouth, there’s a touch of wood spice sweetness here supporting fine, ripe apple and creamy almost peachy flavors. The texture really opens up on the mid-palate where this gains richness and power as well as a light mineral note that drives the long finish. Attractive with spiced apple flavors and subtle oak layered over the mineral notes on the long vanilla tinged finish. Elegant and rich. 92pts



Barrel fermented aromas greet the nose along with creamy, nutty, buttery, pineapple aromas and sweet toasted spice notes.  Surprisingly open and fresh in the mouth with clean crisp apple fruit early on the palate then turning a bit riper with a little nectarine on the mid-palate. The nose shows much more oak and buttery character than the palate which is clean, lighter than the 14.1% would suggest finishing with good energy and real finesse. This is rather long and focused. 91pts



Very fine on the nose showing subtle oak influence under a layer of fine, bright fruit, that is fresh and lemony with a little flinty mineral aspect. The palate mimics the mouth with zesty citrus laced crisp apple flavors and a fine edge fof minerality. Really just perfectly ripe fruit that has great acid cut on the palate and real energy in the mouth. it’s a touch simple perhaps, picking up dusty mineral earth on the back palate before leading into a  long lime fruited and attractive oak accented finish. Really lovely balance here. 91 pts



Tight and earthy on the nose with faint aromas of pear fruit grounded by a base of soil tones with smoky, leesy, floral accents. Showing lovely integration in the mouth, there’s  subtle oak imprint here adding nuance to the slightly creamy and yet fresh fruit. Showing off apple and unripe pineapple flavors framed with gentle suggestions of green herbs and lime zest, this flows across the palate with gentle ease finishing with fine energy and some mouth grabbing tannins. Gentle and very honest feeling, this is a wine that relies on savory flavors as much as the fruit with not that much winemaking in evidence. 91pts




Pretty oaky and creamy on the nose with hints of heather and almonds supporting ripe green apple and almost melonny/pumpkin like fruit. Big, rich and a bit buttery though with plenty of supporting acid. This is a rather flamboyant wine, full of toasty oak spice and vanilla flavors that work well with the honeydew melon and green apple fruit on the palate. The wood takes over on the finish which is a bit short if refreshing. A big, rich Chardonnay with fine underlying tension. 91pts



A bit low key on the nose but with beautiful citrus aromas, a hint of grapefruit and lime accenting apple fruit with fine oak spice and creamy shadings. Bright and rather crisp on entry then turning very creamy in the mouth with vanilla laced apple pie and lemon flavors. This is broad yet with enough acid to keep it fresh and engaging, finishing with excellent freshness and lovely sweet lemon and apple flavors. A little loose knit but rather attractive for what it is with nuanced mineral and nutty tones on the lemon curd toned finish. 91pts



Quite mineral and almost chalky on the nose with aromas of apple skins and apricot topped by smoky minerals and a very fine oak shading. Tight and acid driven in the mouth with clean, fresh fruit flavors that are a little subdued and framed by gently creamy oak notes. There’s a touch of hazelnut here along with a little green plum skin, lime,  and banana flavors that sticks to the palate through the long, zesty mineral framed finish. Lean and focused, this is very restrained. 90pts



This smells lovely with a bit of a jolly ranch aspect to the candied lime fruit that greets the nose but it’s joined by aromas of freshly baked bread, spiced apples and even a suggestion of raspberries.  Soft in the mouth and a touch of the creamy almond milk side of the spectrum. I expected a bit more lift on the palate, which is well endowed with peachy , pear fruit all underpinned with fine sweet oak notes. Smooth and easy to drink, this does have subtle mineral and citrus pith notes offers some contrast to the sweet oak and fruit flavors, but it still comes off as more to the sweetly fruity side of things and finishes quickly. 89pts



Fresh and a bit tart on the nose with green apple, baked apple and spicy wood aromas. This enters the mouth with racy acids that keep a palate full of sweet toasty oak spice, baked apple, ripe kiwi and lime curd flavors quite lively. Offering a nice combination of bright open knit textures and moderately rich flavors, this stumbles a bit on the modest finish which shows floral leesy character and a nice pop of minerality on the final. 89pts



Tight on the nose with attractive aromas of French oak and subtle green apple and toasted nut notes.  Soft and open on entry with early flavors of raw almonds and creamy accent the the sweet green apple and lightly green plummy flavors on the palate. This is very supple and fairly rich though with enough acid to keep things lively and focused in the mouth. A touch simple on the finish which shows a hint of tannin and some lovely creamy citrus flavors. 89pts



Warm, almondy and a bit toasty on the nose yet soil driven with mineral and strong floral base notes supporting the core of green apple and lime cream aromas. A little spicy on the nose. Round and soft at first then the acids kick in lending some mineral cut to the sweet core of clean, fresh creamy apple, peach  and melon fruit. There’s a light biter streak here that adds a nice contrasting note to the otherwise sweet fruit and almondy flavors. The oak is very well judging, present but not intrusive and adding a bit of structure to the modest finish. 89pts


Via: Snooth – Articles

The Wines of Germany 101

Old world wine countries are challenging to describe. Simply put, too much is going on and too much has gone on there for brief summaries to be of much help when trying to learn about their wines, but you have to begin somewhere. Once I work my way through the top dozen or so wine producing countries in this simplified Wine 101 fashion I’ll begin to delve deeper into each country and the regions that make them special.

Today, as we explore Germany things are thrown a bit on their head. No other wine producing region is as loudly defined by a single variety as Germany is by Riesling. While we are most familiar with German Riesling, there is a whole world of wines under vine in Germany ranging from the familiar, they’re making a name for their stunning good Pinot Noir of late, to the unusual and under-appreciated. Dornfelder or Scheurebe anybody? Let’s take a look at what’s going on with German wines today.

Origin: Snooth – Articles

Vinography Unboxed: Week of November 10, 2013

box_o_wine.jpgHello from the bottom of the samples pile. This is the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles of sample wine that have crossed my doorstep recently.

Let’s start this week with two winners from the southern hemisphere. The first is one of the more exciting Chilean wines I’ve tasted in a long time, and just the sort of thing that Chile ought to be trying to do more of: an old vine blend of lots of different grapes from the Cauquenes Valley in the Maule region. The Clos des Fous “Cauquenina” is juicy and delicious and serious enough to be sipped contemplatively if you’re in that sort of mood, otherwise it’s one of the world’s best pizza wines.

The other entry from Chile this week is one of the founding members of the VIGNO movement, a group who are making old-vine Carignan from the same region, Cauquenes. You can learn more about VIGNO from one of my posts about their efforts. Or you can just go buy this delicious example from Garcia & Schwaderer.

Closer to home, we’ve got a delicious Freeman Vineyards Chardonnay from the Russian River, whose name, “Ryo Fu” means cold wind, and another from pioneering producer Adelsheim Vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Worth drinking even before you knew it was $13, the Banfi “Centine” red blend from Tuscany is definitely a steal and while it isn’t as good as the Clos de Fous, it’s worth drinking with your pizza as well.

All these and more below. Enjoy!
2011 Clos des Fous “Cauquenina” Red Blend, Cauquenes, Maule, Chile
Lip staining, inky purple in the glass, this wine smells of blackberry and mulberry fruit. In the mouth, gorgeously bright and juicy flavors of blackberry, mulberry, and cherry burst with juicy acidity and wonderful crushed green herb notes. Faint powdery tannins and a long finish. A blend of 40% Malbec, 20% Carmenere, 14% Syrah, 10% Pais, and 6% Carignan all made from gnarly old vines. Unique and outstanding. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $30. click to buy.

2010 Garcia & Schwaderer “VIGNO” Carignan, Maule, Chile
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry cola and a hint of crushed nuts. In the mouth, gorgeously bright cherry and mulberry flavors take on a plummy note as they head through a finish tinged with oak. Tannins are somewhat stiff and powdery. The wood can’t be held against the wine, however, which is quite juicy and delicious. 14% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2010 Mer Soleil “Silver” Unoaked Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands, Central Coast, California
Light yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of honey, baked apples, and butterscotch. In the mouth baked apple, butterscotch and lemon curd flavors have a nice brightness to them, with decent acidity and a nice butterscotch finish. Showing signs of age, so drink up. 14.8% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $25. click to buy.

2009 Long Meadow Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
Cloudy dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry, green herbs, and tobacco. In the mouth the wine has a nice cool tautness, as muscular tannins support flavors of black cherry, plum, and a hint of green herbs and green bell pepper. Good acidity keeps the fruit bright, but there is a bitter component to the finish that is less than desirable. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $44. click to buy.

jc_cellars_smoke_mirrors.jpg2010 Adelsheim “Stoller Vineyard” Chardonnay, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light blonde in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd and cold cream. In the mouth, lemon curd, cold cream and pink grapefruit flavors are kissed by the vanilla of oak. Gorgeously bright acidity keeps pink grapefruit flavors soaring through a long finish. 13.8% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost:$55. click to buy.

2010 JC Cellars “Smoke and Mirrors” Red Blend, California
Inky garnet in color, this wine smells of cherries, chocolate, and boysenberries. In the mouth, rich cherry, dark chocolate, orange peel, and plum flavors swirl in a very rich, dark package dusted by powdery tannins. Excellent, mouthwatering acidity makes the wine quite drinkable, despite being rich and clearly high octane. 14.9% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost:$25. click to buy.

2011 Rusack “Reserve” Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County, California
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of rich raspberry and cranberry aromas. In the mouth, juicy raspberry and cranberry flavors are bold and delicious and backed by wonderful mineral notes. Orange-peel citrus notes emerge in the long finish thanks to zippy acidity. Faint tannins coat the mouth. A hint of alcoholic heat emerges in the finish. 14.3% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $40. click to buy.

2009 Charles Krug Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California
Palest gold, nearly colorless in the glass, this wine smells of gooseberries and green apples. In the mouth bright flavors of candied green apple and kiwi have a slight sweetness to them that is quite pleasant amidst racy acidity and mouthwatering freshness. Delicious. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9 . Cost: $18. click to buy.

2010 Freeman “Ryo-fu” Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of buttered popcorn, ripe apples, and lemon curd. In the mouth, tangy lemon curd and golden delicious apples mix with notes of butterscotch and grapefruit zest. More tropical notes emerge on the finish. Big and powerful, but with restrained oak use. 14.1% alcohol. Score: around 8.5 . Cost: $45. click to buy.

2010 Banfi “Centine” Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of bright cherry, tobacco, and cedar. In the mouth, cherry and cedar flavors are bright and smooth on the palate, with notes of leather and wet earth. The oak is nicely restrained, and acidity keeps the fruit bright. A pleasant and cheery wine. 14% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $13. click to buy.

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Original: Vinography: A Wine Blog

Do you fusilli?

An interesting thing happened when rotini made their way to the good ol’ US of A. Miraculously they were turning into fusilli. While that is not literally true, their name did change. Shop the markets here in the states and what we see labelled as fusilli is actually the Italian rotini. In Italy fusilli generally refers to a long, hollow screws of pasta that resemble long corkscrews. Rotini on the other hand are the short, fluted twists.

Coming from northern Italy, they are a far cry from the Bucatini we explored last week. Designed to hold loose dry sauces, think pesto in particular, they’ve become one of the more common and popular forms of pasts over the past decade or two. I’ve always enjoyed fusilli with some simple toppings, more than sauces. Their flutes hold and grab onto things like flakes of fried tuna or slivers of sundried tomatoes better than just about any other pasta and when it comes to Parmiggiano they are like a black hole, scooping up as much cheese are your tiring arms can grate! So lets take a look at fusilli today. Or rotini. No matter the name it’s a great  pasta to add to your repertoire!

By: Snooth – Articles