Wine of the Week: 2012 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2012 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc.

The Winery

Merry Edwards, one of California’s first female winemakers, began her career at Mount Eden Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1974.  In 1997, she co-founded  Merry Edwards Winery, a business venture allowing her to produce from select Pinot Noir grapes in Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast, including, for the first time, her own vineyards: Meredith Estate, Coopersmith, Georganne, Sanchietti and Flax.

Last year, her 40th year as a winemaker, Merry is inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintners Hall of Fame.

The Wine

My wife and I have visited the winery a few times.  While Merry Edwards is  known mostly for her single-vineyard Pinot Noirs, we always pick up a bottle or two of her Sauvignon Blanc.  It’s a Sauvignon Blanc of unique character.

Here’s what Merry Edwards Winery says about it..The rich core of this flavorful wine is fruit sourced from vines 25-35 years old. That 54% is complemented by 20% Sauvignon Musqué, which adds floral aromatics and depth not present in other types of Sauvignon Blanc. The remainder is the classic Shenandoah selection…prevalent throughout California.

The wine is fermented in barrel, and undergoes bâttonage, or stirring of lees, which gives the wine it’s weight and texture.   

Wine of the Week: 2012 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc

2012 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc

My tasting notes follow:

Pale green tinged straw color with peach, grapefruit, guava and a hint of wet stone aromas. On the palate, its medium-bodied, well structured, and fresh with great texture. It exhibits peach, grapefruit, guava and a hint of honey flavors. Long finish. 13.7% alcohol – $30

Rating: A- :

Pair with: This is a Sauvignon Blanc with some “weight”.  I like to match it with something with similar weight or a special meal.  I enjoyed this bottle with Grilled Paiche.  Delightful!  Here’s a couple of suggestions from Merry Edwards that sound fantastic;  Crabmeat Mango Salad, and Honey Lime Baked Wild Salmon with Mango & Black Bean Salsa.

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Drink Pink! Rosé of the Week; 2013 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare

It’s April and for me that means, it’s the unofficial opening of Rosé season (truth be told it’s Rosé season for me pretty much year-round)!  With that in mind, I’m cranking up my annual series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  This week’s Rosé is the 2013 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare.

The Winery

Bonny Doon Vineyard, located in Santa Cruz, CA was established in 1983 by the inimitable Randall Grahm, a man of many interests, not the least of which is “thinking of fiendishly cunning stratagems for producing wines which express a sense of place and which actually make the world a more interesting burg“. He’s an interesting man. In fact, as I write this, based on what I know of him from his bio, and blogs about Bonny Doon, and social media, the first thing that popped into my head is that he could be the real life “Most Interesting Man in the World” (This from his Twitter profile - “Founder, Winemaker, Terroirist/Vinachrist and Prez-for Life @BonnyDoonVineyd, Defender of the Misunderstood and Underappreciated Doon-trodden Cépages of the Earth” – check out the bio here).  The wines Bonny Doon produces are a reflection of Grahm – they’re thoughtful, eclectic, often unique, and interesting wines. )  Sure, the packaging is clever with inventive names, and beautiful art work.  But don’t let the slick marketing fool you into thinking the wines aren’t serious. Nothing could be further from the truth. The wines are seriously good.

The Wine

I turned to a perennial favorite to kick off this year’s Rosé.  I picked this up at Whole Foods, and it was good to see it can still be had for under $20.  With the popularity of dry-style Rosés escalating, I’m seeing an unwelcome increase in pricing, especially on the domestic front.  It’s becoming more and more challenging to find dry, food friendly pink wines of this quality for under $20.

This an atypical Rosé in that the blend of 55% grenache, 23.5% mourvèdre, 10% roussanne, 2.5% carignane, 2% grenache blanc, 7% cinsaut includes both traditional red and white Rhône varieties.  A typical Rosé is composed of solely red grape varieties. Additionally, Bonny Doon employed the practice of bâtonnage–the stirring or re-suspension of lees after fermentation–to give the wine a creaminess of texture.

Drink Pink! Rose of the Week; 2013 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare

2013 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare

My tasting notes follow:

Pink color with orange hue with promising grapefruit, strawberry, and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate, it approaches medium-bodied, is dry and crisp with generous strawberry, citrus, and spice flavors, and very good length.  This wine newly released.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it tastes even better in June/July. 13% alcohol. SRP – $18

Rating:  B+: A perennial favorite that continues to deliver! Will buy more!

Pair with: Traditional Provençal fare including charcuterie, pâté, salade niçoise, and the aïoli platter. It’s an incredibly flexible partner at the table, complementing everything from international cuisine—curries, tagines, or chiles rellenos—to a vast array of seafoods, poultry, salads, and cheeses.

Sample purchased for review 

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2009 Gérard Bertrand Saint-Chinian Syrah/Mourvèdre

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2009 Gérard Bertrand Saint-Chinian Syrah/Mourvèdre, and it’s a fantastic value!

I picked up this wine at my local Costco for $11.59.  I’d love to tell you I didn’t expect much…But that simply wouldn’t be true.  In my experience Costco does a fine job of stocking wines that over deliver for the price.  It also helped that I’ve had good experience with a few other wines from importer Gérard Betrand, a leading winemaker, producer and grower in the South of France.

He owns seven vineyards in the Languedoc-Roussillion region.  Betrand operates from the Château l’Hospitalet, a renowed 38 room hotel room/wine estate.  He produces a variety of wines for different markets.

This wine is sourced from fruit in the Saint-Chinian region of the Languedoc.  I50-50 blend of Syrah and Mourvèdre

photo (17)

My tasting notes follow:

Opaque black red color with appealing black fruit, tobacco, spice, licorice, and a whiff of eucalyptus aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with a supple texture and dusty but well integrated tannins. It shows blackberry, black cherry, currant, spiced vanilla and a hint of bittersweet chocolate flavors. Lingering finish. 

Rating: A-  This wine is was $12 at Costco.  That’s killer Quality/Price Ratio folks!  Simply put….this one is a repeat purchase for me!

Pair with: This is a meat and potatoes wine – enjoy with Hearty stews, Flank Steak with Garlic Wine Sauce, or  Lamb Ragout with Olives and Peppers.

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

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Book Review – Buy The Right Wine Every Time by Tom Stevenson

I’m a wine geek. Most of my friends are not.  In fact, the vast majority of folks who enjoy drinking wine don’t want to put much thought into it beyond – what’s the occasion, and how much am I willing to spend for it?  Wouldn’t it be nice if such folks had a handy-dandy reference guide on the best wines to buy for the money?  That’s the intended purpose of the newly published “Buy The Right Wine Every Time-The No-Fuss No Vintage Wine Guide.

BuyTheRightWineEveryTime Cover

The book, written by Tom Stevenson, is premised on providing easy to follow guidance from a wine expert to non-experts who want to get the most satisfaction for their money, without being burdened by  pretentious wine speak.  In other words, it offers guidance to “Main Street” wine consumers on which wine to buy when they’re confronted by the Wall of Wine (“WOW”) at their local store.  Buy The Right Wine focuses on the most widely available wines, without regard to vintage, including many of the least expensive brands habitually avoided by the main stream wine writers.

This book is for you if you drink wine, but don’t think wine

Stevenson has been writing about wine for more than 30 years, and is considered the world’s leading authority on Champagne. He has written 23 books, including Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia, which is the standard reference for Masters of wine and Master Sommelier exam worldwide.  He’s the winner of numerous literary awards including the Wine Literary Award, America’s only lifetime achievement award for wine writers.  HIs works have published internationally by more than 50 publishers and translated into over 25 languages.

Overview

Buy The Right Wine is divided into three main sections The first is a relatively short list of “Wines by Style” (red, white, fortified, sparkling, and rosé), which are quality rated (Recommended, Highly Recommended, and To Die for) and categorized by price categories (“$Under $10″; “$$; $10-$15″; and “$$$; over $25″).  The second, and main section is “A-Z of Wines”, an alphabetical listing of wines by producer, without regard to vintage.  Each wine listed in this section has a brief explanation of what the wine is, what it tastes like, recommendations for similar wines.  The last section of Buy The Right wine contains what Stevenson considers to be the  ”The 20 Most Useful Wine Tips.

 Review

Buy the Right wine is does a commendable job of fulfilling its promise.  The book is well-organized, concise and informative.  The recommendations are well thought out and offers folks who enjoy wine, but not the pretension that can go with it, a great way to hedge the bet a bottle of wine can be.   The book itself is made of quality materials, and is just the right size to be a carry-alone companion while one is out and about shopping for wine.

I especially liked the recap of the wines recommended in the “A-Z” section of the book. Along with a easy to understand descriptions of what the wine is,  and what it tastes like, Stevenson suggests similar wines of greater quality.  This is a great way for the novice to gain confidence and expand their knowledge about what wines they like, or dislike. And for the more adventurous wine consumer there are also recommendation to “try something completely different”.  I found the tasting notes to be accurate representations of what the recommended wines taste like.  And perhaps most importantly, since Buy the Right Wine is filled with the most widely available and less expensive brands, the recommended wines should be relatively easy to find.  I took the book for a spin at my local BevMo (5 cent sale anyone?) and was able to find many of the wines noted in the book.

Finally, I found the last section of the book, the 20 most useful wine tips, to be quite informative for both wine novices and enthusiasts (I especially like the “how to bring a wine up to room temperature”, and preserving the freshness of opened wine tips).

In terms of opportunities for improvement, this book just begs for a mobile app or e-book, Its selections and helpful wine recommendations would be even better in a more portable and clickable form.  Also, while Stevenson does a mostly admirable job avoiding “wine speak”, terms like mineralityresidual sugarmalolactic fermentation, or lees aging (wouldn’t it be great if there was an e-book, or app that enabled the user to link directly to the meaning of such words?) are sprinkled throughout book.  Stevenson explains every specialist has its own vocabulary. True enough, but some readers not recognize this i a way to expand their wine knowledge, and may be put off by such terms.

I heartily recommend the book to every day wine consumers and wine newbies!

Buy the Right Wine Every Time, The No-Fuss No-Vintage Wine Guide
Author: Tom Stevenson
Book Price: $14.95 retail
Publisher: Sterling Epicure, New York
Copyright 2014

Buy the book here

Review copy provided by the publisher.

__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2009 Viña Eguía Rioja Reserva

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  This week’s wine, the 2009 Viña Eguía Rioja Reserva is a great value!

The Winery

According to importer Quintessential Wines the Viña Eguía winery and vineyards were established in 1973 in Elciego and purchased by Father and Son, Jose and Julian Murua of Bodegas Muriel in 2010. Elciego is a town in the Rioja Alavesa, which borders the Spanish “Basque” region, and the language spoken there often includes Basque words, such as “Eguia” which means “truth.” The brand is symbolized by an open hand over the label, which is in the shape of an open book, analogous to putting one’s hand on a bible to swear to the truth of what one is saying.

The Wine

The fruit for this wine, which is 100% Tempranillo, were sourced from vines with a median age of 30 years from the Rioja Alavesa region, which along with Rioja Alta has a reputed for producing Rioja’s finest grapes.

The wine is classified as a “Reserva”.  Based on Spain’s strict labeling laws that means a “Reserva” red wine must be aged for at least 3 years with at least 1 year in oak.  In the case of this wine,  it was aged 24 months in American and French oak barrels were it ages for 24 months, then aged an additional two years prior to release.

So how does Spain do it?  How is it possible to produce a wine aged for four years that sells for under $15? I’m not sure, but when I look for killer value, I look to Spain first!

photo (54)

My tasting notes follow:

Dark ruby color with appealing red fruit, tobacco, vanilla and spice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and smooth with soft tannins, and good acidity. It shows fresh dark red cherry, vanilla,and spice flavors. Long finish. It’s drinking well now, but will likely award cellaring an additional 2-3 yearsAlcohol-13.5%; SRP-$15

Rating: B-:  This wine is the truth when it come to value! We picked up three bottles based solely on how much we enjoyed the 2007 vintage (and the fact it was on sale at Costco for $7.99!).  After opening up this one and tasting it, we went back the next day and bought three more!  Tip: Let it breathe 30 minutes or so to maximized enjoyment!

Pair with: Grilled lamb chops, Patatas a la Riojana, aged cheeses or a plate of wild mushrooms sauteed in Spanish olive oil.

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
Other posts you might enjoy

__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2001 Joseph Phelps Insignia

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  Or for this week, an outstanding wine – the 2001 Joseph Phelps Insignia.

The Winery

In the late 1960’s, Joseph Phelps was running one of the largest construction companies in the U.S., Hensel Phelps Construction Company, when he won the bid to build Souverain Winery (now Rutherford Hill) located a few miles outside of St. Helena. Enamored with the beautiful Napa Valley and contemplating a career change, in 1973 Joe bought the 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, and began planting vineyards and construction of a winery. The first harvest in 1973 yielded Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Johannisburg Riesling bottlings, all custom crushed at nearby wineries. The Joseph Phelps winery was completed in 1974 in time for harvest, crushing grapes for the first Insignia and the first Syrah bottlings.  Click here for more history.

Today, Joseph Phelps sources their fruit 100% from their estate vineyards.  Estate vineyards include the Spring Valley Home Ranch outside of St. Helena, Banca Dorada in Rutherford, Backus Vineyard in Oakville, Las Rocas and Barboza vineyards in Stags Leap, Yountville Vineyard in Oak Knoll, Suscol Vineyard in South Napa and beginning with the 2011 growing season, Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard in Carneros.

The Wine

Insignia, the flagship wine of Joseph Phelps was first produced in 1974.  Four decades later it is recognized as one of the world’s great wines. Thirty-one of thirty-seven vintages have been rated 90 or more points by various wine publications, including three perfect 100 point scores for the 1991, 1997 and 2002 vintages from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate in Mr. Parker’s Historical Tasting of Insignia report.

Insignia is the first proprietary Bordeaux-style blend produced in California.

The 2001 vintage is a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec primarily from estate-owned vineyards in Stags Leap and Rutherford, with additional fruit coming from independent growers. The grapes were harvested at an average 24.8° Brix, fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged 22 months in 100% new French oak barrels. 13.9% alcohol

We opened this wine for this year’s Open That Bottle Night was last Saturday.  Open That Bottle Night, created by former Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, and is the one night a year that we are all encouraged to get out that bottle of wine that is so special that no occasion seems special enough to actually open it.

My wife and I hosted 3 other couples, each of whom brought along their own special bottle of wine.  I pulled out this bottle (which was a gift from my very generous boss) simply because it was an older vintage than the bottle I’d been considering for weeks.

We sat down to a wonderful dinner of Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs.  The other reds we enjoyed were a mature Bordeaux – a 1986 Chateau Meyney, and the 2008 Silver Oak Napa Valley.

I decanted this bottle about 2 hours before dinner, and the Meyney was decanted for about 3 hours.

It wasn’t even close.  This bottle “kicked ass and took names”!  It was the unanimous favorite!

JP Insignia

My tasting notes follow:

Nearly opaque garnet color with exuberant black cherry, blackberry, black currant, cedarwood, espresso aromas. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, surprisingly fresh and well-balanced with silky sweet tannins. It shows ample mouth-filling fruit with waves of blackberry, cassis, espresso and a bit of mineral flavors. Long finish.

Rating: A:  A simply stunning bottle of wine that should reward further cellaring. In fact, my wife and I were still talking about its aromas, flavor, complexity and mouth feel 3 days later!

Pair with: It was fantastic with the Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs!

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
Other posts you might enjoy

__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2011 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2011 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas.

The Winery

Tablas Creek Vineyard (“TCV”) is probably the best-known of all Paso Robles wineries specializing in Rhone style wines.  It is a partnership between Robert Haas, and the Perrin Family of Chateau de Beaucastel in the Chateauneuf du Pape region in FranceWhat I find interesting about TCV is that they specifically chose to establish themselves in Paso Robles because of the similarities of the soil conditions and climate of Paso Robles to Chateauneuf du Pape.  They went as far as to import vines from Chateauneuf du Pape.  The vines were propagated and grafted in their on-site nursery and used to plant their 120 acre organic vineyard.  Check the full story here.

The Wine

Tablas Creek began producing the Patelin de Tablas line of wines in 2010. Patelin is French slang roughly translated as “country neighborhood”.  In this case “neighborhood” refers to Tablas Creek sourcing fruit from neighboring trusted growers in the Paso Robles area  that take care of their vineyards and for the track records of the wines that these vineyards have produced.

According to TCV…Grapes for the Patelin de Tablas are sourced from four regions in Paso Robles. Three are limestone-rich: the warmer, higher-elevation Adelaida Hills near Tablas Creek, the cool, coastal-influenced Templeton Gap to our south, and the moderate, hilly El Pomar to our south-east.  These regions provide structured, mineral-laced fruit and excellent acidity.  We also source fruit from the warmer heartland of the Paso Robles AVA: the Estrella District, whose mixed sandy loam soils produce juicy, darkly-fruited Syrah. 

All varietals for the Patelin de Tablas were destemmed and fermented in open-top and closed stainless steel fermenters as well as 1500-gallon oak upright casks. Only native yeasts were used. After fermentation, the wines were racked and blended, aged in a mix of stainless steel and 1200-gallon oak foudres, and bottled in May 2012 

The wine is a blend of 52% Syrah, 29% Grenache, 18% Mourvèdre, and 1% Counoise.  It’s  great example of the advantages of blends – The Syrah adds dark spice and meatiness, that is brightened by Grenache and Counoise, and the earthiness of Mourvedre.

13.7% Alcohol by Volume; 8,460 Cases Produced.

photo (53)

 My tasting notes follow:

Dark ruby color with promising dark red fruit, peppery spice and a hint of damp earth aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and smooth with bright cherry, spice, and mineral flavors. Polished mouthfeel, and very good length!

Rating: A-;  A beautiful wine that substantially over delivers for the price (SRP – $20, but can be found online for around $18; Find wine here), and is food friendly too!

Pair with: Charcuterie; Camembert,  or Comté cheese;  grilled meat, meaty stews and casseroles,  slow cooked roasts of pork or lamb, or Moroccan tagines.

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
Other posts you might enjoy

__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

#WineWednesday Review-Geyser Peak Uncensored

Geyser Peak Winery was founded in 1880 as California’s 29th bonded winery by German immigrant Augustus Quitzow, one of Sonoma County’s pioneer winemakers.

Geyser Peak is located in Alexander Valley in Northern Sonoma County.  Although, they announced last month they will be moving to the former Alderbrook property in Healdsburg. The new Geyser Peak location will be near the intersection of Westside Road and Highway 101 – one of the busiest wine corridors in northern Sonoma County and within walking distance of bustling downtown Healdsburg.

Accolade Wine, which acquired Geyser Peak in 2012 is in the midst of revitalizing the brand, and making major investments in everything from winemaking and production to promotional and sales initiatives and more. The brand has debuted refreshed packaging graphics with a new logo and a number of new wines that showcase the winery’s exceptional vineyard resources.

They feature a diverse lineup of wines including California, Appellation, Winery and Reserve series of wines.

The Wines

The Uncensored wines are part of the Winery series, which feature unconventional blends of grape varieties – one white wine, and one red wine. 

However, even a winery steeped in tradition likes to push the limits of expression every now and again. With Geyser Peak’s new Uncensored Wines, winemaker Ondine
Chatten has done just that, exploring untraditional blends in the crafting of two easy-drinking, versatile wines,
each with distinctive personality.

The suggested retail price for both wines is $14, but you may be able to find them for $12 at Costco.  They present very good value for everyday wines!

Reviewed: Geyser Peak Uncensored

2012 Geyser Peak Uncensored White Blend
Proprietary blend of Viognier, Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
$14, 13% abv.
6,200 cases made

Pale green tinged golden color with appealing honeysuckle, pear, apple and a bit of citrus and sweet spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, medium-love acidity, and off-dry with mouth-filling pear, apple, guava, and spice flavors. Medium-finish.

RatingB+:  This wine is a charmer that eminently quaffable, but would also pair well with fresh fruit, salads, or fish tacos topped with fresh guacamole!

2011 Geyser Peak Uncensored Red Blend
Proprietary blend of Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Tannat, Alicante Bouschet, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
$16 ($12 at Costco), 13.5% abv.
26,000 cases made

Nearly opaque violet color with mocha, plum and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied low acidity and soft tannins with pronounced and very likable plum, blackberry, vanilla, and spice flavors. Medium-finish.

Rating: B+:  Interesting “kitchen sink” blend that offers very good value in an everyday type red wine.  It’s especially good for casual imbibing, but would also work with burgers, a plate of spaghetti or pizza.

Media sample(s) – Many thanks to Folsom & Associates for providing the wine.

Ratings Key:

  • (A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
  • (A) – 94-97/Outstanding
  • (A-) – 90-93/Excellent
  • (B+) – 86-89/Very good
  • (B) – 80-85/Good
  • (C) – 70-79/Bleh
  • (D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff!  Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2010 Breggo Cellars Gewürztraminer Ferrington Vineyard

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2010 Breggo Cellars Gewürztraminer Ferrington Vineyard.

The Winery

Breggo Cellars is located in the City of Booneville in Anderson Valley AVA, which is north (about 70 miles) of Napa Valley in Mendocino County.  It is owned by Cliff Lede (pronounced “LAY-dee”) of the Cliff Lede Vineyards and Poetry Inn in Napa Valley, where Lede has been very successful producing Bordeaux varietal wines.

As the saying goes “Great wine starts in the vineyard”.  And a great vineyard, start with having the grape varietal best suited for the location of the vineyard.  Breggo is focused on varietals that do well in cool climate Anderson Valley – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Syrah.

The Wine

Gewürztraminer (pronounced as “guh-Verts-trah-Meen-er”) literally means “spicy grape” due to its gobs of exotic, spicy (clove and allspice) fruit flavors including lychee, citrus and peach.  It can be made in dry or sweet styles.  It’s typically best drank within 3-5 year of vintage.   The grape thrives in cooler climate locations, so the Anderson Valley is a great place to grow the grape.

The fruit for this wine is sourced from the Ferrington Vineyard, owned by Kurt and Heather Schoeneman, who purchased the vineyard in 1997.

This wine underwent whole cluster pressing to tank and settled for 24 hours. Two-thirds was fermented in neutral French oak barrels, while one-third was tank fermented in stainless steel. No malolactic fermentation was permitted.

photo (49)

My tasting notes follow:

Light pale yellow color with intensely aromatic exotic aromas of lychee, stone fruits, lemon peel, and spices. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with apricot, white peach, citrus, and spice flavors. Surprisingly vibrant acidity. Long finish. 13.1% abv.| SRP – $25

Rating: A-; A wonderfully refreshing, dry, yet exotic Gewürztraminer that I’d purchase again!

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

TGIF Bubbly; J Cuvée 20 Brut

My wife and I usually make it a point to drink sparkling wine on a weekly basis.  It’s typically Friday night…thus “T.G.I.F. Bubbly”  It’s a celebration of sort, to the end of the work week. And hey we love bubbly…so why wait for a special occasion? This week’s selection is the J Vineyards and Winery J Cuvée 20 Brut.

The Winery

J Vineyards and Winery is an independently owned winery located in Healdsburg, California.  It was founded in 1986 by Founder and President, Judy Jordan.

The winery focuses primarily on sparkling wines (Brut and Brut Rosé) , as well as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris produced from estate grapes mostly farmed within the Russian River Valley appellation in Sonoma County.

J Vineyards and Winery is a state-of-the-art facility that
houses, in essence, two wineries under one roof—
J sparkling wine and J varietal wines.

It’s been a number of years since I’ve visited, and the last time I did, we opted for a flight of sparkling wine.  I’m going to have to check out their still wines, which I’ve heard nothing but good thing about. The winery itself is a great place to visit.  It’s got a cool vibe, and some fun options for tasting.

In addition to aforementioned wines, J also produces Viognier, Pinot Meunier, and Pinotage still wines, along with two dessert wines.

The Wine

The J Cuvée 20 Brut is J Vineyard and Winery’s signature wine.  The cuvée was created to celebrate J’s 20th anniversary.

The grapes for this cuvée (blend) were hand harvested into small quarter-ton bins and whole cluster pressed in J’s special Coquard press.  Juice from each lot is fermented separately, and the lots remain separate until blending.

After secondary fermentation in the bottle, the wine is aged an average of two years in the cellar.

Cuvee20Product220x680

J Cuvée 20 Brut NV. Image courtesy of J Vineyards and Winery

At it’s $28 price point, it competes with some entry-level Champagne, and it stands up to the competition quite well. Thank you!

My tasting notes follow:

Pale golden-yellow color with an explosive mousse and yeasty, lemon, honeysuckle aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied with a soft mousse, and apple, lemon, and a bit of pear and ginger flavors with a mineral undertone. Medium-long, clean finish.

Rating:  A- 

Pair with:  Sparkling wines are excellent foods wines (not just a sipper for celebrations).  Pair this with triple creme cheeses, oysters, and shellfish dishes, Chicken Pot Pie, Fish and Chips or Ham and Manchego Cheese Sandwich with Tomato Jam.

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 12.5% alcohol.
  • Closure: Cork
  • Where it’s from: > Sonoma County>Russian River Valley
  • Grape varieties: 54% Chardonnay, 44% Pinot Noir, 2% Pinot Meunier
  • Production method: Methode Champenoise
  • Dosage: Brut
  • Retail: $28
  • Drink: Now

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff!  Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.