Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Winey Tasting Notes: I Am The 20%: Pareto Estate's Eighty 20 Red Blend and Chardonnay



"The Pareto Principle, also called the 80/20 rule, states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. This is true in the world of wine, where 80% of wine is consumed by 20% of the people. With Pareto’s Estate, we raise our glasses to those of us that take up the slack of others. 
Cheers to the 20%!"

OK let's just think about the above statement for a second or two. I didn't even know that The Pareto Principle was a thing. I thought it was just...you know....the way the cleaning and laundry chores are divided in my house. I seriously was unaware that it was also known as the law of the vital few and/or the principle of factor sparsity (look it up, I did). So now my household management actually has a scientific-type principle to describe it. "Sucky" was doing just fine for me, but this just sounds so much more official.

And then there is the Pareto Principle as it applies to wine. 80% of wine is consumed by 20% of the people. This is when I started to really get on board with this whole idea of an 80/20 split. I guess it just depends on what you are applying it to. Housework: nope. Dog baths: nope. Wine drinking: YUP.

So I am going to proudly and unabashedly now count myself in the minority of the 20% when it comes to wine. I AM THE 20%. This makes me happy.

Eighty 20 Chardonnay, Pareto's EstatePareto's Estate, the website of which the above quote comes from, gets me. They cheer on the 20% and they even made a line of wines to celebrate us Pareto Principle drinkers. I have recently been introduced to this line, so let's talk about my first two tastings from it. 

Pareto's Eighty 20 Chardonnay (2013, 13.5%, Monterey, CA) comes from the Monterey Appellation of California. It's on the coast in the middle of the state and is an estate grown wine. Which means that they grow (and crush) the grapes and make the wine all by themselves. It's a pretty golden yellow color that has aromas of pear, nutmeg and cinnamon. It tastes of vanilla, pear and yellow apple and finishes off with some wet oak and citrus rind.  It's got a round, full mouth feel to it, which just completes the whole 100% Chardonnay pedigree. This is a really, really good Chardonnay at a really, really good price (I got it on special for under $10!!) If you like your white wine oakey and mellow and full and rich, you'll love this one. 

Eighty 20 Red Blend, Pareto's EstatePareto's Red Blend (2013, 14.5%, Monterey, CA) is a blend of 30% Petite Sirah, 25% Syrah, 19% Petit Verdot, 13% Cinsault, 11% Merlot, 2% Riesling.  (Yes, that says Riesling. I was as surprised as you are.) Same thing for the whole estate grown thing as the Chardonnay. This blend is dark purple in color and has a nose of pepper and black plum. It tastes of plum and mocha with a touch of black pepper. A little airing makes the tannins smooth and zesty - just a hint of a bite of them at the end of it all. Again, another wonderful bargain: under $10 for a solid, tasty red blend. Buy this if you like your reds a little less fruit forward and a bit more toward the spice (not spicy) side of things. 

Pareto's also makes a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Riesling and a Pinot Noir. I will be trying them soon, but I had to pace myself. Because Pareto Principle or not, if I had tried 100% of their wines at once, I'd never finish the review.

Now that I know I am a member of the Winey 20%, I'd like you all to join me there. We have a high standard to keep up here, Winey Friends, but we cannot let the other 80% of the world down. Sip on!

Cheers!




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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Winey Tasting Notes: Cheers to autumn with Cocobon Red Blend

It's here...you can feel it in the air. The leaves are turning colors, there's a coolness in the air, the colder nights, the dewy mornings. Yup, fall has arrived.

Cocobon red blend wine bottleI've never made any bones about the fact that I'm a weather driven wine sipper. And the thought of fall turns my taste buds to all things red (because orange and brown are not really colors I want to see in my wine glass). It just feels right to be sipping a warm, hearty red when I have a cozy sweatshirt on and my feet are once again ensconced in my warm fuzzy socks. (Yeah, I don't go for the glamor when I get chilly. Said socks are warn and cozy but very fuzzy and rather....old and ratty.)

Ratty socks or not, I found a great welcome to fall wine recently. It's a California red blend from Cocoon Vineyards (2013, 13.5%, CA). It was being sampled in the wine department of a local grocery store and I liked it so much I put a bottle right into my basket, then and there. (Did I mention how much more fun it is to grocery shop if you hit the wine samples first?)

Cocobon's website says that this is "an inspired blend of mélange of Bordeaux-style varietals." Said melange includes Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah. The Zinfandel really comes through here, as the wine starts off with a nose of chocolate and cherry.

I tasted flavors of violet, cherry and mocha. The tannins were nicely behaved in a very smooth finish - they gave me just a slight little pucker flavor to end on a fun little bite.

The words I'd use to describe it: luscious and velvety. And with all that fruit forward flavor and little kick at the end, I've got to call this another red blend winner. I found it for under $10 and have seen it sold online for as low as $7. Dare I tell you to stock up on this one? I dare. Stock away.

I would so totally pair this wine with a fire pit, the comfy sweatshirt and those ratty socks. Throw in a doggie on my lap and some friends and family in the surrounding chairs and you've got what I'd call a perfect autumn evening!

Cheers! Pin It

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Winey Tasting Notes: Teeing off with Weir Chardonnay

Sawmill Creek, Ontario, Canadian wine, Mike Weir
Winey Family pic from one of our
favorite Ontario golf courses,
Sawmill Creek, 2009
I've written before about the wonderful vacations that The Winey Family has taken over the years up to the beach in Canada. Winey Tasting Notes: Two Canadian Unoaked Chardonnays, Eh? And in addition to the water sports we get to partake of up there, there is another sport that goes hand in hand with our Canada trips: golf.

Sawmill Creek, Ontario, Canadian wine, Mike Weir
Winey Family pic from one of our
favorite Ontario golf courses,
Sawmill Creek, 2009
We're lucky that very close to our beach cottage are a number of really nice golf courses. And although I have been on a bit of a break from the sport (spinal surgery will do that to you), and The Winey Daughter would rather play soccer, The Winey Hubby and Son hit the links every chance they get. (This doesn't just apply to our Canada vacation. Those two never, ever, ever pass up the chance to golf. As I write this, it's a lovely sunny autumn Thursday and I'll give you one guess where The Winey Hubby is. Hint: it's not at his desk at work.)

Sawmill Creek, Ontario, Canadian wine, Mike Weir
Winey Family pic from one of our
favorite Ontario golf courses,
Sawmill Creek, 2009
There is a reason I'm talking about golf and Canada here. It's Mike Weir. He is Canadian golfer, Masters champion and more to the point: he has a winery in Ontario. So of course on our most recent visit to the beach, I decided it was time to hit the ball off of the tee, so to speak, and try some of Mike Weir Winery's Unoaked Chardonnay (2014, 12.5%, Niagara Peninsula). This cost $14.95 Canadian, making it a wonderful bargain (about $10 American at the time I bought it).

The first thing I noticed about this Chardonnay was that it was a really pretty, bright clear gold color. It looked so nice with the beach setting. Anyway, the nose on this wine is pure pear. As for the taste, that pear was the first flavor  that came through. It was followed by some golden apple, some toasty vanilla, nutmeg and a tinge of cinnamon. It finished very juicy and tasty. Pure Chardonnay grapes, no wood barrels to interfere.

Mike Weir Winery Unoaked ChardonnayI can best describe this wine as round and full. It falls somewhere between summer and fall - fruity and juicy but with those warm brown spices that give you a hint of the autumn weather to come. It's a great transition wine, if you feel the need to ease yourself away from light whites to more hearty whites as the weather grows cooler.

OK, I'll say it: this wine is hole-in-one! A birdie! Or if you're me, and holes-in-one and birdies are not normally used in conjunction with your golf game (ahem), it's a really good wine. (I may not have been the world's best golfer, but I always had a keen appreciation for the cute outfits and the drink cart.)

Fore! (For some reason, I say that a lot when I golf.)

Cheers!




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