Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Honoro Vera Garnacha '13 $8

Calatayud, Spain

It's not often I think much of an in-store wine tasting on a Saturday afternoon in a  "big box" type store selling wine.  A few days ago I was on a errand to buy some spices and stumbled upon various wine distributors offering up samplings throughout the store, so I thought why not give a few new labels a try.  I must admit, I was striking out for wines I liked until this one, so I bought a bottle.  Given the affordable price point ($8) and a "like" with my tasting, I felt like this was a great find.

The wine varietal is Garnacha which is very popular for this region in Spain.  It opened up with aromas of dark cherries and black pepper spice.  On the first taste, flavors of ripe plums, blackberries and macerated strawberries gave way to a nicely balanced, fruit forward wine, yet not too sweet.  Medium body tannins with a slightly dry finish supported a flavor profile of what you'd expect in a much more mature vintage. 

This was an excellent wine for the price and my intentions are to go buy more before the price increases.  I'd recommend you check World Market or your local wine store and pick up a bottle for yourself.  Don't let the label scare you.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Anakena Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 $13

Chile, Cachapoal Valley

While shopping for a few new Cabs to try and write about the wine sales clerk voiced a definite “thumbs up” for this one.  For the price point, I figured why now.

It opened up with bold aromas of black cherries, dark chocolate, toasted wood and hints of earthy minerals.  I guess you could say it has some typical qualities on the nose for many cabernets.

With a steady swirl, dark red, heavy legs draped my glass awaiting a first taste.  Black currants, ripe cherries and mocha balanced nicely for a medium bodied flavor.  Soft tannins and a clean finish made for an easy drinking, great value wine.  This would pair well with beef, pork or a grilled portabella mushroom drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and cracked black pepper.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bris Andes, Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 $10

Colchagua Valley, Chille

First of all, if you find a Cab this good for $10, I want to know about it!

From the makers of some very high-end wines, Barons De Rothschild (Lafite), this is an incredible value with a high-end taste.  The aromas marry a balance of dark cherries, blackberries and a hint of fresh cracked pepper.  From the first sip to the end of the bottle this has a smooth mouth feel with a pleasant balance of fruit.  Ripe red berries with hints of toasted herbs followed by a subtle finish make for an excellent choice for dinner or pairing with your favorite cheeses and meats.  I paired this with an Ancho chili crusted pork tenderloin and with my final glass, some dark chocolate after dinner.

This was an amazing price point that will probably increase to $15/bottle in a year or so.  Found it at Total Wine.  It’s ready to drink now!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Earthquake Strikes Napa Valley

As some of you have heard, this past Sunday, August 24th, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit Napa Valley and Sonoma County.  The damage was intense to many homes, historical buildings and businesses including wineries and their supporting companies.  Thankfully there have been no reported deaths yet 200 injuries is nothing to ignore.

My heartfelt prayers go out to those recovering from this earthquake and a speedy recovery to those injured.  May we all support them in whatever way possible.

The following is a story by Wine Spectator online with further details.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Meritage blending – Franciscan Magnificat $50

Napa Valley

I just came out of a local wine shop after attending a great seminar on Meritage and Bordeaux wine blending. This was excellent to understand “Meritage”, it’s history, guidelines for varietals and how closely related it is to a Bordeaux blend. It brought me a greater appreciation to the wine makers, working to create that perfect blend for all of us to enjoy.  Wine blending is such an important aspect in wine making.

The name Meritage is taken from two words, Merit and Heritage. It was initially a contest to come up with a name when American wine makers wanted to designate their wines made in the tradition of a Bordeaux blend. Today, it’s an alliance and the wines brought forth from wineries must be considered their best wines with no single grape variety making up more than 90% of the blend and production of not more than 25,000 cases.  Grape varietals can be a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.  Carmenère is also allowed however these 5 mentioned are the predominant ones used.

In our seminar, taught by Luis Torres, Director of Wine Education for the Constellation Academy of wine, we worked on blending to match to the 2011 Franciscan Magnificat.  We had available to us the 5 single varietals to mix and match given our own preferences. All be it virtually impossible to re-create Magnificat, many of us tried to match this nicely blended composition of 79% Cab. Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec. Aged on oak for 20 months the aromas exhibited dark plums with hints of licorice and flint. The flavor profile exuded ripe blackberries with a subtle black pepper spice.  Medium to full body with firm tannins. Definitely a wine to drink today yet very good for aging.    

Overall, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the seminar, however I was pleasantly surprised. Luis is great at demystifying wine, the process of blending and most of all a really nice composure to make anyone feel comfortable in understanding wine.    

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