Friday, April 8, 2016

Winey Tasting Notes: New Favorite Alert....Bogle Chardonnay

You know those wines that you can always count on? The ones that are so good no matter how many times you taste them? The ones that you can safely order when someone at the table says, "You're the wine expert, what should we get?" (I don't care how long or often I write about wine, that is still an incredibly intimidating sentence to hear directed at you.)

Bogle Chardonnay Well I found another one recently. It's been on my winey radar for a while, but I have just never tried it. But I reached for it one day and I am so very happy that I did.

The wine in question is Bogle Chardonnay (2013, 13.5%, CA). I've had some of their other wines, their Essential Red is quite yummy. So I should not have been surprised that the Chardonnay was equally as good. But still, I didn't know it would make it onto my Favorite List!

But make the list it did. Why? The nose is full of pears and yellow apples. Those were also the first flavors that showed up when I sipped it. Added into these were cinnamon and nutmeg. At the end was a kick of tangy oak. This was was so mellow in the mouth. Round and full and flavorful.

The second time I tried it, I found that nothing had changed. I liked it more and more. And it slowly dawned on me that I'd found another go-to wine. Not just because it was very, very good (direct quote from my wine journal, by the way), but also because I could see it going nicely with a whole lot of different foods. Pork, lamb, chicken, seafood - it would work with them all.

I also used it to make my rosemary-herbed pork chops with wine shallot sauce (OK, so it's my recipe because it's on my Pinterest board...but I did make it) and oh my, was it ever tasty. I love to use a wine in a recipe and then sip it as well. It's such a full circle type of feeling, you know?

If you like your Chardonnay full of mellow fruit and pie seasoning flavors, oaky, but not overly oaky, you will love this wine. And if we are ever out to dinner together and I get asked to pick a white wine, it's a pretty good shot that it'll be this one!

Cheers!



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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Winey Tasting Notes: You Had Me At The Label: SomeWines

If you even think about sipping on wine, I am sure you have seen these new offerings from SomeWine. You can't miss them, because their labels are designed by the the very funny folks at Someecards - the ones we all pin and share on Pinterest. And send to our other Winey Friends on Facebook.

At first sighting, I grabbed a bottle. Because I do that. I am not above buying a wine for the label and this was a no-brainer for me. The only thing that made me hesitate for a nanosecond was the fact that I saw the Chardonnay first, and the label didn't TRULY apply to me, The Winey Hubby and I being empty-nesters and all. But then I remembered that we have two dogs under the age of 3 and I gave up on the thought of hesitating.

SomeWine Chardonnay label
Or your dogs.
So let's talk about the SomeWine Chardonnay (2013, 13.2%, CA) first, shall we? It has a nose that's full of yellow apples and honeysuckle. The taste is creamy and smooth and starts off with a flavor of light-colored oak, a thin line of honey in the middle and ends up with some mellow caramel. It finishes off with vanilla cream and caramel. Can you just feel all that smoothness and rich flavor in your mouth right now? Good. Because this was such a yummy, classic Chardonnay. It retailed for $12 in my area of Ohio. If you like your Chardonnay oaky and creamy, this is one for you.

SomeWine Red Blend label
Yup.
Moving on (to a different store actually - I kind of feel like these wines were following me around just begging to be purchased) to the Red Blend (2012, 13.1%, CA). Once again, I chose it for the label. Because who doesn't want to pair wine with more wine? (If you answer, "Me" to that question I would seriously rethink your pairing priorities.) The cost was the same (this IS Ohio after all and there are no bargains to be had on wine...) The nose starts with mocha java - chocolate and coffee - one of my favorite aromas. You'll taste flavors of coffee, thyme, cassis and a hint of cherry syrup. I must warn you to let this breathe first - if you don't you'll get an annoying tinge of spearmint to the flavors, and although I have nothing against spearmint in and of itself, it does not fit in with the other flavors. So, a little air, and you have a pretty darn good red blend, especially given the cool label. If you like your reds herby and full, grab this label, er, bottle.
SomeWine Pinot Noir label
I know, right?

The other varietal in this series is the Pinot Noir, and I can promise you I'll be trying that one. The wines are actually produced by the 1026 Beverage Company, two buddies with a long history in the wine-making industry, so they know what they're doing. Especially when it comes to those labels.

Cheers!






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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Winey Tasting Notes: All in the Barrel with Mondavi's Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon

Barrels are a big deal when it comes to wine. New oak, old oak, French oak, American oak: they all bring something different to the vino.

But I recently got to taste some wine that had been barrel aged, not in wine barrels, but in Bourbon Whiskey barrels.  Huh?

Mondavi Bourbon barrel aged Cabernet SauvignonI will admit to knowing very little about Bourbon, or whiskey, be it Bourbon (American) or Irish, or Scotch or whatever. And as I admit that I can hear my Irish grandfather rolling his eyes at me in heaven. (This was man who introduced a cousin and I to whiskey sours way back when. We were 11. Ahem.) Anyway, it remains that I don't have much knowledge when it comes to whiskey.

But one thing I do know now: if you age Cabernet Sauvignon in Bourbon barrels, it's pretty much a match made in heaven. (Are you listening up there, Poppy?)

Leave it to Robert Mondavi wines to come up with this. They start with their California grapes, which make some amazing wine on their own. In this case, the grapes are 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot. Then some of the wine is aged in Bourbon Whiskey barrels for three months. A Bourbon Whiskey barrel, by whiskey law, must be oak and charred inside. 

The result is Robert Mondavi's Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon (2014, 14.5%, CA). I got my first taste of this wine at a little tasting bar and was pretty much wowed by it. Cabernet Sauvignon was my first red wine love, and it's always to fun to find one that's so good.

This wine is deep, dark garnet color. It starts with a nose of cherry - some red but mostly dark, black cherry, mocha and oak. The flavors are big: blackberry and lots and lots of caramel (yum). The flavors are all wrapped up in some toasty oak. The finish is lush and smooth and very well balanced. 

I immediately bought two bottle of this and plan on buying more. But I (and you) will have to buy it quickly, as it's a limited release. The guy who was serving at the tasting warned us about this, which I think was very nice of him. It runs around $13 a bottle and would pair so nicely with steak or pork or Bourbon chicken (I had to throw that one in). 

Buy a few - if you like your wines big and bold and toasty and silky you won't regret it!

Cheers!
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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Winey Tasting Notes: Italian Memories with Piccini's Memoro Italia Vino Rosato

During the summer of 2014, The Winey Family took a trip to Italy. We were celebrating the graduations of both Winey Children - one from college, one from high school. We'd always wanted to go to Italy, so we took off for an amazing 11 days in Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre and Venice. It ranks as one of our all time favorite trips and we love to reminisce about it.

Rome, Coliseum
The Winey Family at the Coliseum
It was a glorious time - from the culture to the history to the sunny, hot weather. And of course, I found some wines to write about: The Wines of Cinque Terre, When in Rome....Drink Frascati, Pinot Grigio in Rome..at Target, Spritzing like they do in Italy.

One variety of wines I didn't write about then were the Italian Rosé wines, which I absolutely loved. I had tried different Rosés before, some French, some US, and some Italian and I liked some, others, not so much. But the Rosés I found there were wonderful! And for the most part, they were anonymous house wines or local wines that could not be found back here in the US of A. And believe me, I tried. But I just couldn't find one that brought me back to our time there, most notably to a very special canal-side dinner in Venice. It was there that I had one of my favorite Rosés of the whole trip. But I never got the name (it was a house wine and there wasn't a whole lot of English-Italian communicating going on - on both sides!).

I never really gave up looking, it was always in the back of my mind that I could find a Rosé like the ones I sipped on our trip.

One day, in the grocery store, I decided to buy a bottle of an Italian Rosé that I had seen many times. It was only $8 and had been hanging around the store for quite a while. I had passed it by because, well, I don't really know why. I just did. Time and time again. It just didn't seem to be one I'd like.

Piccini's Memoro Italia Vino RosatoThe wine is question is Piccini's Memoro Italia Vino Rosato (NV, 13.5%, Chianti, Italy). It's a blend of 40% Negroamaro, 30% Montepulciano, 20% Nero d’Avola and 10% Merlot del Veneto. I will never know why I decided to buy it that fateful day.....but oh my, I am so glad I did. Because this was the one that brought me right back to Italy! The Rosé I had been searching for, and I found it about a mile away in my grocery store, no less.

First of all this wine is so pretty: a lovely medium-deep pink translucent color. The nose was faint raspberry. The first taste was sharp strawberries followed by raspberry and then a line of cranberry. The flavors were crisp and clean without any citrus, so I would call this a juicy, full flavored dry wine. No citrus here, like you'd find in a Sauvignon Blanc...this was pure Rosé - from those red grapes!

This wine was just wonderful: crisp and refreshing and light all at the same time. I know it would be a great wine to pair with food when summer arrives, but I absolutely loved it all on its own in the middle of an Ohio winter.

"Memoro Italia," according to the back label of the wine, is Latin for "remember Italy." And let me tell you, this wine lives up to its Latin. It made me remember our time in Italy in the best of ways! And it's a time that I'll always cherish: full of family, fun, travel and love.

Cheers! Pin It

Friday, January 29, 2016

Winey Tasting Notes: Revisiting Israel with Mediterranean Soul Red Blend

A few weeks ago I reviewed an Israeli wine in honor of our recent trip to Israel. That was a white wine. (Winey Tasting Notes: Revisiting an amazing trip with Israel's Mediterranean Soul wine.) Today, we're going to go red as I reminisce about that wonderful, wonderful trip.

The red in question, Mediterranean Soul's Red Blend, comes from the Golan Heights sub-region in the Galilee region of Israel. (You can read more about the regions in the first post.) I thought that Galilee was such a pretty part of Israel and thoroughly loved our time there. But we were on the move, and after a few days in Galilee, we headed out to Jerusalem.

The Winey Travelers in Jerusalem
Talk about an amazing city. If you stand on one of the scenic overlooks to gaze at Jerusalem, it's like looking back in time...and yet not. You look at old Jerusalem and the walls and the domes and its all-white stone. And then you see the newer buildings, which are required to be built in the same stone as the old ones, which makes the city so seamless and sort of anciently ageless. The city embraces its past and the huge cultural and religious significance of the city, but it doesn't block any forward progress.

We saw the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, The Garden Tomb, Mt. Zion and The Upper Room, The Western (Wailing) Wall, The Holocaust Museum, The Davidson Archaeological Center (which digs at the Temple wall), The Church of All Nations, The Shrine of the Book, The Knesset....and we could have seen oh so much more.......

Jaffa Gate
Jaffa Gate and the
walls of Old Jerusalem
My favorite part of Jerusalem? Old Jerusalem. You actually have to walk through stone gates to enter into the old city. On our first foray, we went through the Jaffa Gate, which borders on the Armenian and Jewish sectors of old Jerusalem. You walk through and boom! Narrow cobblestone streets that wind in and out and around. Merchants teeming on each side of each street. The smells of different cuisines, herbs, coffee and leather. The chatter of shoppers as they go their way. Sure, the goods being offered now are a lot different from the things they sold hundreds and thousands of years ago, but you totally feel as if you have stepped back in time.
Old Jerusalem
Old Jerusalem


We walked and shopped and eventually wound up at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where hundreds of pilgrims head daily to visit one of the spots claimed to be Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified and buried nearby.

Outside the church, you're walking the Via Dolorosa, the route that Jesus took to his crucifixion. You can't help but walk it, because two thousand years later, it's still part of the city, just as it was back then. The sheer history of Jerusalem astounded us time and time again.

After our wonderful time there, I was very excited to find the Mediterranean Soul line of Israeli wines when we returned to the USA. Every time I sip them, I'm reminded of that amazing trip.

Mediterranean Soul is a boutique winery in the Golan Heights. As I said, I had tried a white blend first, but this was a red blend: Life Red Blend (2013, 13.9%, Golan Hts, Israel). It's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. You'll get raspberry and fresh herbs on the nose. You'll taste fresh, green herbs and end with a tiny hint of coffee. The tannins on this wine are very present and they end up with a hint of cherry in your mouth.

This is a smooth wine, but not velvety smooth. It's smoothness doesn't come from the fruit flavors that you usually find a velvet feel with...this time it's more of an herbal smooth.  You'll love this wine if you like a full on red wine without any hints of fruit to speak of and more of a green, garden-y taste.

These wines are very affordable (about $10 a bottle) and I found them locally here in Ohio, so I hope that you can find them as well, wherever you are. I am really enjoying them...almost as much as I am enjoying reminiscing about our trip.

Cheers!



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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Winey Tasting Notes: Brancott Estate's Flight Song and The Winey Daughter Down Under

I am continuing to live for text messages and Facebook posts as The Winey Daughter studies film in Australia and New Zealand for the month. (Winey Tasting Notes: The Winey Daughter Down Under and Layer Cake Shiraz, Winey Tasting Notes: Down Under with Lobster Reef Sauvignon Blanc)

At least, she says she's studying film. As far as I can tell three weeks into the trip, she is scuba diving, shopping and sky diving. Because of course, that's what you do when you take a film class abroad.

The Winey Daughter scubas the Great Barrier Reef
Making friends on the Great Barrier Reef
Actually, it is. Because if you're going to go halfway around the world, you should absolutely take advantage of the fact that it's summer in Australia. And that the Great Barrier Reef lies off the northeastern coast of that country. Hence the scuba diving and sky diving. The shopping is a given and to be honest, it only came up when she announced that she and her classmates ran into and talked with a very famous, very cool American actor while they were shopping in Sydney. (Not sure I am allowed to say who, but his initials are Samuel L. Jackson.)

In an attempt to live vicariously through her adventures down under, and due to the lack of barrier reefs and sky diving planes here in Ohio, I have taken to sipping some Aussie wines. Actually, today's wine is from New Zealand, but since she spent the first part of her trip there, it totally counts.

Brancott Estate Flight Song Sauvignon BlancAnd besides, I was intrigued when I saw the label on the bottle. Brancott Estate's Flight Song Sauvignon Blanc (2014, 9%, Marlborough, NZ) promises that it is 20% lighter in calories than their normal Sauvignon Blanc. They harvest the grapes earlier in the season, when the sugar levels in the fruit are lower.

Really? I have had some "reduced-calorie" or "light" wines...to mixed reviews at best. (Winey Tasting Notes: Just In Time For Bathing Suit Weather: The Light Grape Collection, Winey Tasting Notes: Skinny Girl California Red (or: I'll Take The Extra Calories, Please) So I did ponder this one for a few moments. And then I figured I'd try it. In my experience, "light" whites do so much better than reds and this was from the holy ground of Sauvignon Blancs: Marlborough.

The first aroma I got when I opened the bottle was lime - lots and lots of it. And that was followed by green pepper. Very promising for a Sauvignon Blanc. The flavors didn't disappoint: green pepper and green grass mixed in with lime and lemongrass. Juicy and crisp with lots of clean acidity. This wine is dry and light.

I didn't expect that tart crispness. When I see a wine has a 9% ABV, I think sweet. Or watery. This was absolutely neither. It was full of flavor and zest. I'd buy it again, lower calories or not.

If you like your wine tart and puckery and aromatic, this is the white for you. It runs in the $10 a bottle range and would be a great wine to stock up on for summer. Or to stock up on if you are wishing it was summer and you need to find your warm weather in a bottle. It works fine for that too. I know this firsthand.

Cheers!

For the record: 88 calories a glass.


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Friday, January 15, 2016

Winey Tasting Notes: The Winey Daughter Down Under and Layer Cake Shiraz

As I said last week, The Winey Daughter is studying for the month of January in New Zealand and Australia. Her first week of the trip was spent in New Zealand, where she lived as a Hobbit for a number of days. At least that's what it looks like from her pictures. I didn't even know she knew Gollum. (For those of you who are confused at the moment, it may help if I tell you that the The Lord of the Rings movies were filmed in Wellington, New Zealand. And since she is taking a film class, it all makes sense now, doesn't it?)

Bondi Beach, Australia
Bondi Beach
(Photo by The Winey Daughter)
Right now she's in Australia. We've been getting updates from her and I'm pretty sure she's fallen in love with that land down under. It doesn't hurt that it's muddy and rainy and snowy (all at the same time pretty much) here and that it's high summer there. In fact, the other night her text announced that it was 107 degrees that day in Sydney. Now THAT'S summer, huh?


She will be traveling all over the country, but they started out in Sydney, cruising the harbor, visiting the Opera House and of course, hitting Bondi Beach. (Why travel to a different hemisphere with an entirely different season schedule and not go to the beach, right?) I  must say, the pictures I've seen are absolutely stunning. New Zealand was gorgeous, and Australia is turning out to be equally as picturesque.

Bondi Beach, Australia
Bondi Beach, take two
(Photo by The Winey Daughter)

Have I mentioned that I'm also coveting her wine time in the land down under? Because Australia, like New Zealand, is knows for its wines. It currently ranks as the fourth largest exporter of wine in the world. Grapes are grown everywhere in the country, but especially in the southern states, which is where today's Aussie wine comes from.

Layer Cake Shiraz (2012, 14.9%, South Australia) is sourced from McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley, two of the more famous wine area in South Australia.

Layer Cake Shiraz The nose on this is a German chocolate cake: some faint mocha and some bright berry. When you taste it, the first layer is all oak and woodsy spices. Then you get to the middle layer and you taste the fruit, in this case, sour cherries. And to top it all off there's a layer of mocha and coffee flavors. They all come together in a wine that feels velvety in your mouth. The finish is elegant tannins. It’s very well balanced, too – no burning feel in your mouth, just a nice smooth sip.

You should buy this wine. And then buy some more. If you like red wine, but don’t want one as fruity as a Merlot, this is for you. The fruit and oak blend together so beautifully. You get the best of both of those tastes. It would please a whole range of red wine lovers.

Since the drinking age in Australia is 18, I am hoping that The Winey Daughter partakes of some of the country's amazing wines. She loves hard cider ever since her summer studies in England, so I hope that this little trip down under opens up a love of Aussie wine for her. And dang, I wish I was there to guide her along the way. ~clink~

Cheers!

If you want to read about another Layer Cake offering, you can click here to find out about Layer Cake's Sea of Stones Argentinian red blend. 



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