Friday, August 22, 2014

A Week Of Wine - Catching Up

Summary of this week of wine -  

I'm short on time to adequately write about everything going on this week. A quick post outlining my week of wine seems to be the optimal option today. Where to start? How about reverse order?

Saturday August 23, 2014 - Tossed my Frampton CD. Later dude.

Friday August 22, 2014 - Doors Closing

Doors closing today!

Sadly, today marks the closing of the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman Wine Shoppe. Owner Catie McIntyre is closing out all wine inventory by end of business today. Everything is on sale, beer, wine and furniture. The good news is that Catie is returning to writing and will have a book published this year! I wish Catie luck and look forward to sharing a glass of wine, or two, soon. All the best Catie!

Thursday August 21, 2014 - #winemuse Podcast

Austrian Gruner Veltliner.

#winemuse World Tour podcast show - Thursday we recorded the wine podcast show on Austria, featuring the 2012 Biohof Pratsch Grüner Veltliner Rotenpullen Organic wine. If you missed the live show, Linda and I will have the polished podcast posted soon. We enjoyed this Austrian Gruner, a lot, and interviewed a representative of the winery, Jan Kux as well as a Washington winemaker, James Mantone of Syncline Wine Cellars. I will also post my tasting notes for this wine.

Wednesday August 20, 2014 - An Afternoon in Walla Walla, Washington 

Skylite Cellars.

My first stop was at Skylite Cellars. It was a wonderful, interesting and engaging tasting. They have a new winemaker, new to me at least, and have plans for some interesting changes. It was a fun visit. More soon.

Catie McIntyre.

My second stop was at Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman Wine Shoppe. I knew Catie had the shoppe for sale, but did not know that doors were closing this Friday. Our conversation was interesting, though bitter-sweet. I always sent my friends to her store who were visiting Walla Walla. She's a wealth of information on the history of Walla Walla and especially, Walla Walla wine. Oh yeah, she has a book on Walla Walla being published this year. I will notify you when it is available.

Adamant Cellars.

Third stop was at Adamant Cellars out near the Walla Walla airport. I was surprised that my last visit with them was in May 2010, far too long. They used to be out at the Wine Incubators but now have their own facility. I'll have more about them soon.

Patit Creek Cellars.

My fourth and final stop was at Patit Creek Cellars. This was my first visit to Patit Creek. The wines of  course were lovely, well, all the Walla Walla wines I sampled on Wednesday were lovely. I was also treated to a special cheese tasting by their Spokane cheese monger. More on that later. An unusual and interesting visit.

Tuesday August 19, 2014 - #winestudio Tasting

Brotherhood Sparkling Chardonnay, NY.

If it's Tuesday, it must be time for #winestudio. Hopping on twitter at 6pm I engaged with friends on a virtual wine tasting of the Brotherhood Sparkling Chardonnay. The tweets were virtual, the wine was not. We enjoyed tasting a sparkling wine from the Hudson Valley wine region of New York. This was my first Hudson Valley sparkling wine, made by the oldest winery in the United States. I will have more about this wine tasting soon. See, I have much to catch up with when time permits.

Monday August 18, 2014 - Tasting and Note Taking

Summer is perfect for sparkling wine.

I am tasting through some lovely sparkling wines: Cremant d'Alsace, Prosecco and Cava. Look forward to photos and tasting notes on these wines. They are so very good and suitable to many palates and occasions. Fun.

Napa Valley Chardonnay.

Also, Linda and I are working on a special #winemuse podcast show featuring Chardonnay! We have recorded lively conversations with California and Washington Winemakers. We are also tasting through some lovely Napa Chardonnays! I will let you know when we have the final show posted for you to listen to. I will also write my tasting notes for the wines featured in the show.

Rex Pickett.

Lastly, I am reading the book, "Vertical: A Novel" by Rex Pickett, author of "Sideways: A Novel" Yes, I will have more to share with you about this book and author.

I encourage to have a happy, safe weekend. Remember to support your local wineries and to seek out local producers when you are traveling. All the best.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Tasting the Whitecliff Vineyard 2013 White Rose - Hudson Valley, NY @WhitecliffVino


A Delicious, Vegan, Hudson Valley Wine. 

This month on #winestudio we are discussing and tasting the Hudson Valley wine region of New York. Each Tuesday evening we are tasting a different wine. Last Tuesday we sampled the Whitecliff Vineyard 2013 White Rose.

The 2013 White Rose is a Traminette dominant vegan wine, vegan because Winemaker Michael Migliore prefers it that way and it doesn't impact quality. No gelatin was used in fining this wine, instead flotation was used. Nitrogen was used to float the particles to the surface for clarification. All reds and the 2014 vintage will be almost 100% vegan. I wonder if more wineries will adopt this interesting technology?

What is Traminette? 

Admittedly, I am relatively new to Traminette, my first exposure was in November last year. Traminette is a hybrid varietal based on a cross of Gewurztraminer and the French-American varietal Johannes Seyve 23-416. This cross was made in 1965 at the University of Illinois. It was not officially released until 1996. It is growing in popularity due to cold weather hardiness, partial resistance to several fungal diseases and depth of flavor. I'm becoming a fan.

The Hudson Valley Region

Beginning just one hour north of New York City, the Hudson Valley is the oldest wine region in the United States. French Huguenots planted the first vines in New Paltz (Ulster county) in 1677. The first winery was established in 1837 because of the need for sacramental wine. The Hudson Valley has a shorter growing season of 180 to 195 days compared to the Finger Lakes wine region with 190 to 205 days. Wineries in this region tend to be family owned, farm wineries. Today there are 25 wineries in the Hudson Valley.

Map - New York Wine Regions - Uncork NY
"The Hudson River Region AVA is the oldest continually-productive wine region in the United States.  Though most people refer to this wine region as the Hudson River Valley or the Hudson Valley, on July 6, 1982 the BATF—in its wisdom—granted the AVA but chose to call it by another name in order to avoid confusion with a winery that already bore the name, Hudson River Valley Winery (no longer in production)." Source: Wine, Seriously "Viniculture in the Hudson River Region-background"

You can follow along with our Hudson Valley twitter tastings using #winestudio - we are on twitter Tuesday evenings at 6 pm PST if you wish to participate or lurk.

Tasting Notes Whitecliff Vineyard 2013 White Rose

Color: Straw with green highlights.
Nose: Pretty, floral, orange, mineral, light toast in background, peach/apricot, after 15 minutes some musky-melon-lemon on the nose. Very cool.
Palate: Sweet? Citrus. Mineral/oil on the crisp finish. Woo... major cool acid on the finish emphasized citrus (orange/tangerine). Seductive feminine nose, with a lively dance on the tongue, racy finish. Sweet fennel and herbs with food (humus + chips).
At 35 minutes: As it warmed broader on the palate. Savory citrus finish too.
At 50 minutes: Incense on nose, oudh/amber. Lovely. Rockin' acid finish. Sexy racy my friends.

Day two: Floral perfume, orange blossom, spicy mineral, October rain. Nice weight, river rock, steely round, white peach, bite of unripe nectarine, fresh orange, acid front palate, peach honey slide into the finish.

Day three: Enjoyable honey citrus, still bright, melon citrus finish, mineral.

Thoughts: I am becoming a fan of New York Traminette. This Whitecliff Vineyard White Rose has only reinforced my affection for Traminette driven wines. A wonderful first tasting of a Hudson Valley white wine. Add the Hudson Valley wine region to your must visit list. Strongly Recommended.

Stainless fermented
Blend: 75% Traminette , 25% Gewurztraminer, All Estate Grown
Closure: Nomacorc
ABV: 12%
RS: 0.75%
SRP: $18
Production: 100 Cases, limited production
Sample provided by the winery

Whitecliff Vineyard
331 McKinstry Road,
Gardiner, NY 12525
Phone: (845) 255-4613

About Whitecliff Vineyard

Whitecliff Vineyard Winemaker Michael Migliore is an organic chemist by both degree and experience, with an experimental attitude. Total production at Whitecliff Vineyard is 7,000 cases. Built in 2011, their new facility is geothermal powered, unique to the Hudson Valley. The Migliore family includes winemaker Michael, wife Yancey (who does their distributing) and their son Tristan. They are one of the largest vineyards in the Hudson Valley with over 20 varieties of grapes planted.

Establishing the vineyard has been an ongoing process since 1979. While they opened for business in 1999, twenty years after the first vines went in the ground, it was still years ahead of schedule. Michael had planned on running the winery in his retirement, which didn't come until 2006.

Today Michael works closely with Cornell Cooperative Extension testing new grape varieties, and pushing the envelope on the quality of grape growing in the region. In that capacity he also serves as president of the Hudson Valley Wine and Grape Association.

Located at the base of the Shawangunk Mountains, there’s visible evidence of washout and conglomerate rock from the glacial action. There are glacial deposits of shale, slate, schist and limestone form the soil throughout the region. Any rock climbers out there? Shawangunk Cliffs is the most important rock-climbing site on the East Coast! Learn more about "The Gunks" climbing areas.

Hudson Valley Resources

Growing wine regions need your help. I encourage you to visit local wineries and to buy from small producers. All 50 states produce wine. When you are traveling, seek out the local producers and give them a taste. You could be surprised and impressed by the quality you discover.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Wine Review: Mercer Wine Estates 2012 Chardonnay @MercerEstates


Fix that Chardonnay Craving 

My #winemuse Podcast partner Linda Rez and I have been discussing the topic of Chardonnay. Our discussion became so involved we decided to record a special #winemuse Podcast show featuring Chardonnay - to be recorded soon. Outside of our regular commitments, this month has involved Chardonnay research and arranging interviews with some of the best winemakers on the west coast. After our last interview I had strong cravings for a glass of Chardonnay. But what to buy?

One of the reflexes I have developed, after seven years of reviewing wine, is that I tend to purchase wines I don't know. Faced with a wall of wine, I typically select a bottle of wine I have not tried. Sometimes I will seek a wine reviewed/recommended by a friend in the wine industry. Usually, I look for an unfamiliar region or brand.

A year ago I reviewed a Mercer Reserve Chardonnay. But I was in the mood for something a bit more new world, so I selected the Mercer Estate Chardonnay (not Reserve) which I had not sampled. Admittedly I did not research this wine. I just assumed that it would be at least partly fermented in stainless (it was) and might have some oak involved in the program (it did). I was hoping for a fresh, vibrant wine that would be enjoyable with food and the summer sun. How'd I do?

Winery notes:

Approximately 50% was fermented in Burgundian French oak barrels and 50% in stainless steel tanks with a chardonnay-specific yeast. Barrel fermentation lasted approximately a month. Inoculated 30% of the wine in barrels for malolactic fermentation. This wine was hand stirred on a weekly basis for over four months to contribute to the creamy, rich mouth-feel. The portion of the blend in stainless steel tanks was not allowed to go through malolactic fermentation, thus retaining its natural acidity and contributing to the  mouth-watering finish.

My Tasting notes:

Color: Straw.
Nose: Fresh, toasty pear, melon, pineapple, mineral.
Expansive on the palate with fresh pear, light toast, melon, lychee, bright mid-palate, medium-light body, zesty, edged with spice. Satisfying medium finish.

Day two, it was generous with a fresh, toasty nose of melon and pear, whispers of spice and nuttiness. Palate was almost creamy, a hint of vanilla, melon, pear, lemon and lime, friendly acid across the tongue, nutty on the crisp finish. It was creamier as the wine approached room temperature. Good lunch companion with a ham sandwich. Enjoyable on a hot summer afternoon.

Thoughts: The gentle oak treatment combined with stainless fermentation added to the versatility of this wine. It is ready to start the party, was enjoyable with food and a good palate cleanser after dinner. Add to your everyday wine list. Recommended.

Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Vineyards: Zephyr Ridge vineyard Horse Heaven Hills mostly, Sagemoor vineyard remainder
ABV: 13.8%
Closure: Screw cap
Winemaker: Jessica Munnell
Paid $12

Mercer Estates Winery
3100 Lee Road
Prosser WA 99350
(Exit 82 off Interstate 82, between Yakima and Tri-Cities)
Phone: 509-786-2097

The Mercer Family came to the Horse Heaven Hills more than 125 years ago and has been farming for four generations. They planted their first grape vines in 1972, making them the first family to plant and grow vinifera in the state.

Related posts: Discover the Wines of Horse Heaven Hills


Friday, August 8, 2014

Wines of Soléna Estate Dundee, Oregon @SolenaEstate


"Soléna is the combination of the French and Spanish words "Soleil" and "Luna" celebrating the sun and the moon."

I recently participated in a twitter wine tasting of the biodynamically farmed organic wines of Soléna Estate from Dundee, Oregon.  Winemaker Bruno Corneaux was in attendance. The tasting included the Soléna Willamette Valley Pinot Gris, Soléna Grande Cuvee Pinot Noir, Soléna Hyland Vineyard Pinot Noir, and the Soléna Domaine Danielle Laurent.

Unfortunately for me, the wines I was expecting were delayed due to heat. It was just too darn hot to ship the wines. My samples arrived during a brief cooling period. Since these wines arrived too late for me to taste with everyone participating in the twitter tasting, I'm catching up and sharing my personal impressions of these Oregon wines.

I try to be as unbiased as possible and to judge each wine on its own merits. When you have four premium wines from the same winery to taste and review, one cannot help but compare and contrast the wines. Yes, I have my favorites. It will be obvious in my notes which wines spoke to me. My advice is to read my notes and then go buy these wines. Take your own notes and compare your impressions to mine. You will gain perspective on your palate and on my palate too. Sometimes we will be in agreement, other times we will agree to disagree.

Thank you Soléna Estate for sharing these wines.


1. Soléna 2013 Pinot Gris Willamette Valley

Winery note: A wide range of vineyard sites across the Williamette Valley AVA added a variety of flavors and structure to create a balanced blend. Whole cluster pressing took place in order to capture the essence and freshness of the fruit. No malolactic fermentation was allowed. A small amount of Gewurztraminer was added to enhance and compliment the aromatic qualities and complexity of the wine.

Tasting Notes:

Color: Straw.
Nose: Mineral, barn floor, peach, citrus, lively and inviting.
Palate: Focused, fresh fruit, dry, pear, peach, fun finish with white grapefruit, lime pith and zing on the tongue.

Day two: Lovely, smooth almost creamy in the mouth, off-dry with a lot of delicious fruit and fantastic acid into the finish. Toasty honeyed nose with lime peel, cool wet river rock and white peach. Flavors of white peach and grapefruit pith into the tasty finish, nice tingle of acid on the gums. Not zingy as day one, but eminently drinkable. Wonderful with lunch of cold cuts and Manchego cheese. Wow! Very good pairing.

Thoughts: Inviting white wine, wonderful on a very hot day. This wine should be on your table today. Pair with summer foods that benefit from a hit of lime. On day two it shouted "drink me!" Strongly Recommended.

Blend: 96%Pinot Gris, 4% Gewurztraminer
Stainless steel fermented and sur lees for a few weeks
Closure: Nomacorc
ABV: 13.4%
Production: 5,000 cases
SRP: $20
Sample provided by the winery


2)  2012 Soléna Grande Cuvee Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

Notes from the winery:
  • Sourced from various vineyards in Willamette Valley,
  • Smart buy and top value by Wine Spectator,
  • Harvested at end of September 2012,
  • Aged for 11 months in French Oak,
  • Bottled in September 2013.
Tasting Notes:

Color: Clear, light burgundy, to a darker purple.
Nose: Vitamin, dark red fruit. After 5 minutes aromas blew off and delivered fresh, light cherry, hint of river rock, and a touch of strawberry jam. Think picnic by a cool mountain stream.
Palate: Wonderful mouth feel, nice weight, supple tannin on the tongue, raspberry, ripe cranberry, with a dry medium cherry finish. Pretty and fun to be with.

Day three: Earthy red fruit on the nose, light body, fine delicate tannin, acid more present, fluid cherry/strawberry finish with pleasant grip on the tongue and gums. Enjoy with food.

Thoughts: A fresh and crowd pleasing Pinot Noir. No rough edges, not overly complex or sophisticated. Enjoyable, tasty and ready for food. Like. This is a buy me drink me wine. Drink now. Recommended.

Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
ABV: 13.5%
Closure: Nomacorc
Production: 7,000 cases
SRP: $25
Sample provided by the winery


3) 2012 Soléna Hyland Vineyard Willamette Valley

Winery notes:
  • Hyland Vineyard is one of the oldest planted vineyards in Willamette Valley.
  • Hyland Vineyard is located in McMinnville AVA and was planted in 1971.
  • Hyland is self-rooted in volcanic Jory soil and has the largest planting of self-rooted Coury Clone Pinot Noir which was smuggled into the US presumably from Alsace by Charles Coury during the 1960’s.
  • The source of fruit for this wine is from the blocks that are biodynamicallly farmed.
  • Laurent, the winemaker, plans to leave this land better than he received it. They purchased this estate in 2007 and later introduced a separate winery- Hyland Estates Winery in 2008.
  • Numerous award-winning winemakers make single vineyard wine from this estates, including Penner-Ash, Bergstrom, Beaux Freres, Antica Terra and ...
  • Harvested at first week of October 2012
  • Aged for 11 months in French oak barrels
  • Bottled in September 2013
Tasting Notes:

Color: Pale garnet, clear.
Nose: Floral with red fruit, earthy background, dusty note, dark cherry, black currant with touch of minerality. More focused with some air.
Palate: Good mouth feel, nice weight, bright, black currant notes, rhubarb, cherry, spicy, black pepper into the medium finish. Good grip on teeth, pleasantly dry with balanced acid showing on the teeth. Squeaky.

At 10 minutes dancing on the palate occurred. Dark red fruit with touch of orange to keep it interesting. Bang on bright, fresh, focused finish. Showed some depth.

35 Minutes, savory edge to the nose with dark red fruit. A tasty pairing with Genoa Salami and Manchego cheese. Drank a little decadent and was thrilling. Magic moment for me. Totally grooved on this wine at this point.

Day three: Focused deep raspberry/strawberry with dark chocolate, oregano and a candied note on the nose. Medium-light body, nice mouth feel, red fruit with dark chocolate, balanced tannin/acid, lovely dark chocolate covered cherry, medium-light, dry finish.

Thoughts: There's plenty going on with this wine. Suitable for food and conversation. Serve gently chilled and take in a sunset on the river. Good date wine. Most of the action was on day one. Drink now and over the next three years. Strongly Recommended.

Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 13.6%
Production: 500 cases
SRP: $50
Sample provided by the winery


4)  2012 Soléna Domaine Danielle Laurent (aka Soléna DDL) Willamette Valley

Winery notes: The Wedding Vineyard which was a wedding gift from friends for Danielle (owner and proprietor), daughter to Gary Andrus of Pine Ridge and Archery Summit, and Laurent (owner and proprietor).
  • When Danielle and Laurent got married, they registered for premium vines and created a vineyard from all the vines that were gifted to them and planted it behind their home in Yamhill, OR.
  • DDL as it is affectionately called, is located right next to Shea Vineyards in the Yamhill- Carlton AVA.
  • Soil type: Ancient sedimentary Willakenzie soil series, tightly planted to 2,234 plants per acre.
  • Biodynamically farmed vineyard from the early plantation, planted in 1999.
  • Harvested the first week of October 2012.
  • Aged for 11 months in French oak barrels.
  • Bottled in September 2013.
Tasting Notes:

Color: Light plum.
Nose: Expansive, meaty, smoky, black currant, edged with licorice.
Palate: Focused to front palate, dry, fresh, black cherry, black currant, tangy, tannin most noticeable on the cheeks and back edges of the tongue. Acid driven.

Day three:  Dark and savory nose. Bright on the palate. Ripe cherry, cranberry, orange pith into the gently dry finish.

Thoughts: This wine made me hungry and crave food. Recommended.

Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 13.9%
Production: 1,000 Cases
SRP: $50
Sample provided by the winery

Soléna Estate | Hyland Estates | & NW Wine Co.
20980 NE Niederberger Road
Dundee, OR 97115
Open for tastings 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., daily in Yamhill, Oregon.

About Solena Estate:

Founded in 2001, Soléna Estate is an ultra-premium winery with a focus on Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.  The 80-acre biodynamically farmed vineyard, located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, is home to Dijon clone vines, sheep, and chickens. The Soléna Estate, complete with a Winery and Tasting Room set among rolling hills and lakes, serves as the foundation of a lasting legacy the Montalieus will leave for their daughter and the brand’s namesake, Soléna.

After successful careers in the Oregon wine industry, the husband and wife team of Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus Montalieu created an exciting new family operated winery, Soléna Cellars. Soléna is the combination of the French and Spanish words "Soleil" and "Luna" celebrating the sun and the moon, and the name that Laurent and Danielle gave to their daughter.

Soléna Cellars began as a way to explore winemaking with other varietals grown in neighboring appellations while the family's young Domaine Danielle Laurent vineyard matured. Today, Laurent and Danielle are producing Pinot Noir from their estate vineyard in Oregon's Yamhill-Carlton appellation as well as Pinot Gris, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from select sites throughout Oregon and Washington.

Related post: Oregon Wine Country Discovery Tour


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wine Review: Stottle Winery 2011 Malbec - Horse Heaven Hills @stottlewinery


A Stylish Washington Malbec. 

Malbec is another of the varietals Washington winemakers have embraced. Strongly associated with fine wines from Argentina, Malbec is a red wine varietal originally from the Bordeaux region of France. Stottle Winery has crafted a truly stylish Washington Malbec. A fragrant food worthy wine. The smart label design adds to the impression of style. A wonderful wine for your next formal occasion.

Tasting Notes:

Color: Smoky Garnet.
Nose: Smoky, dark chocolate, candied cherry, black licorice, shell of hazelnut, blueberry, espresso, hint of juicy fresh sliced cherry tomato, elderberry.
Palate: Juicy, dark fruit, Medium-light mouth feel, black cherry, cola, mocha, super fine tannin on the gums, fresh medium finish with tingle across the tongue. Wine seeking food.

Day two: Blackberry, tobacco, hint of orange and tar, fine tannin, smooth, dry with bright notes on the medium finish. Finish lingered on the mid-palate with dried dark fruit. Not as aromatic as it was at opening. Deep flavors of coffee and cacao emerged with food. Enjoyed with grilled, marinated steaks, jalapeno pepper and garlic, ginger prawns. Wonderful dinner pairing. Brought out the best aspects of this Malbec.

Thoughts: Wonderfully fragrant wine on the first day. A large, open glass will showoff the aromas for your enjoyment. Day two it was a perfect companion with surf and turf. Recommended.

Blend: 100% Malbec
Vineyards: Elerding 6 Prong Vineyard
AVA: Horse Heaven Hills
ABV: 14.3%
Closure: Natural cork
Winemaker Josh Stottlemyer
Production: 133 Cases
SRP: $33
Sample provided by the winery

Stottle Winery & Tasting Room
2641 Willamette Dr NE,  Suite C
Lacey, WA 98516

Spring/Summer Hours:  Wed – Sun : 12pm – 6pm
Fall/Winter Hours:  Wed - Sun : 12pm - 5pm
Open most Monday Holidays - Closed Easter Sunday

Stottle Winery was founded by Amy and Josh Stottlemyer. Winemaker Josh Stottlemyer is the force behind the wines of Stottle Winery. After selling his web development and internet marketing firm he took his passion for wine to the Northwest Wine Academy in Seattle. Where he completed their 2 year winemaking program. Josh also holds a bachelors of science from the University of Minnesota where he studied chemical engineering and geology. Stottle Winery and main tasting room is located in Lacey, Washington just off I-5 and north of the state capital, Olympia.

Related posts:


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Perfume Review - Fragrances of Wine @FragrancesWine

Senses Seduced. 

It was my pleasure to accept an invitation to review the new perfumes of Fragrances of WineFragrances of Wine is a line of custom perfumes based on the scents found in white, rose', red and sparkling wines. Perfume and wine are certainly two subjects I appreciate.

This is my first perfume review on this blog, but not the first time I have mentioned my appreciation for perfume (Garrison Creek Cellars 14 June 2010). In 2009 I became quite fond of Arab Perfume while living in Abu Dhabi, UAE (Coming to My Senses 8 December 2009). 

Perfume/Eau de parfum is one of the UAE’s key industries – outside of oil, gas and dates. Their perfume manufacturing industry is largely centered in Dubai. A wealth of perfume shops with brands like YAS and Ajmal, among many others, can be found in the malls and shops of Abu Dhabi. Before I lived in the UAE I’d be pressed to say I truly appreciated cologne or perfume. In 2009 it became a new passion. 

The sense of smell is a basic, primal sense, it’s key to survival, attraction and socialization. My broad generalization is, “every culture has its own distinct smell”. These perfumes were crafted by wine expert Amy Mumma and master perfumer Richard Asfour, each Fragrance is made in Provence, France with the intent of expressing the fragrance of wine via perfume. 

"In each scent a story...What is your story?"

Prior to moving to France, Amy founded the Central Washington University Global Wine Studies degree.  Upon arriving in France, Amy was surrounded by the essence of Provence, the multitude of flowers, lavender fields, sparkling sea and wonderful wines.  To share this passion, Amy teamed up with Richard Asfour, a Master Perfumer to create Fragrances of Wine

The following fragrances were crafted for women. Each perfume is uniquely expressed and intended for a variety of occasions, temperaments and tastes. Using my wine sensory skill of smell, I have attempted to share my thoughts, impressions and visualizations inspired by each fragrance. The images I have created for each review were inspired by the perfume.

Sensory Notes + Inspired Images
  • Blanc ~

Notes: Amber in background, floral, orange, at first I thought it was for someone young, then I felt it was suitable for someone mature, pretty fragrance, self-assured, a white sun dress, playful afternoon in spring sunshine, beige camisole, barefoot, sexy smile.

Thoughts: I enjoyed this perfume. It brought back memories too personal to share. A glass of white wine and some memory tripping.
  • Rose de Provence ~

Notes: Sweet, candied, rose, jasmine, young fragrance, exotic, cinnamon, yoga, meditation, dance, Tango, laughter. 

Thoughts: Enticing perfume which expressed "youth" and "dance" for me. One of the ladies in the office also enjoyed this perfume. I can easily see the woman wearing this perfume on the dance floor or at home with a glass of chilled rose'.
  • Noir ~

Notes: Round, red fruit, berry, grape, candy, youthful, flirt, yoga pants, kayaking, first date.

Thoughts: Appropriate for a young woman or young at heart. A casual and carefree fragrance. Would you pour red wine on a first date? I think I may have done so a time or two, I'll leave out the juicy details.
  • Sparkle ~

NotesClassy, romantic, slinky black dress, floral, nape of neck, intimate undertone, sachet, city at night, spicy, passion. 

Thoughts: This was my favorite perfume of the four. I surveyed two women at work. They also liked this perfume. Sparkling wine and Champagne inspired evening.

I encourage you to consider the Fragrances of Wine perfumes. Either for yourself, or as a gift for someone special. You'll find some scents instantly easy to understand and appreciate. The more you experience, the more likely you are to find your senses seduced and you may even answer unasked questions of your own. Enjoy.

About Amy Mumma

Amy Mumma, founder and President of Fragrances of Wine has been working in the wine industry for over a decade.  She was awarded the Professional Wine Woman 2005-2006 at the International Wine Woman Awards in Paris, France, named Western Innovator by the Capital Press and commended by Representative Doc Hastings in the U.S. Congressional Record for service and vision in the wine industry.  

Fragrances of Wine
Aix-en-Provence, France
Purchase perfumes direct.
Perfumes are $50 each.
A perfume sampler is available (4 x 1.5ml): $20 (shipping included)

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Wine of the Week: Ankida Ridge Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir - Virginia @AnkidaRidge


Yes Virginia, there is a Virginia Pinot Noir.
Ankida is an ancient Sumerian word meaning "where heaven and earth join"

This bottle of wine was provided as part of a wine tasting series to showcase some of the less well known wine growing regions of the USA. I don't typically think Pinot Noir when I think Virginia wine. Now I will think Ankida Ridge. Their 2012 Pinot Noir truly impressed and is worthy of a Wine of the Week. You can purchase this wine direct from the winery.

Ankida Ridge is a true family run winery. Mom grows the grapes, Son makes the wine and Dad pays the bills as a veterinarian.

Sitting at an elevation of 1800 ft, Ankida Ridge Vineyards grows Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Amherst County, Virginia. Planted in 2008, their vineyard lies on a steep, rocky slope in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is no level ground on this vineyard. The well drained soils and a cooler mountain climate provides Ankida Ridge the opportunity to successfully grow Pinot Noir. In Virginia! They are one of Virginia's first commercial Pinot Noir producers. A lot of work and care went into nurturing their Pinot Noir vines. You can tell by the quality of this wine.

At Ankida Ridge Vineyard diurnal temperature range is minimal, which allows for slow ripening. They do not need cold nights for acid retention, because the days are cooler at this elevation. They escape spring frost damage due to good relative altitude. Cold air in the spring rolls down into the valleys and pushes warm air back up, but summer days are cooler.  It's a perfect micro-climate. Their vines love it. Compared to other growing regions of Virginia, they are typically 5-10 degrees cooler during the day. If you have ever visited Virginia in the summer, you will understand how this is important.

This was an impressive Pinot Noir on its own. In a blind tasting I would be challenged to distinguish it as "Virginia" and would likely guess New Zealand. A world-class wine you should experience.

Tasting Notes Ankida Ridge Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir :

Color: Clear ruby, orange highlights.
Nose: Earthy strawberry, bright, happy notes. After 55 minuntes dry herbal note and spicy.
Palate: Beautiful fluid quality, shiny. Strawberry galore! Deep finish of ripe red fruit. Glorious fine tannin on the gums and tongue.
  • At 50 minutes tasty orange added to the finish. 
  • Delivering at 55 minutes - lovely, deep, long finish. Acid on tip of tongue at this point.
  • Strawberry/Orange marmalade thang going on at 1 hour 10 minutes. Did I mention a lovely wine?
Day two:
  • Classic Pinot Noir nose, instantly reminded me of New Zealand. Think dry strawberry with a dusting of orange zest, pleasant grip on the lower lip and bright note top of palate. Fresh. Surprising long strawberry finish.
Day three:
  • Strawberry with orange marmalade, earthy notes, dry and juicy. Pure delight.
Thoughts: Big shocker that a Virginia winery can produce a Pinot Noir of this caliber. Well done Ankida Ridge. Impressed and surprised. Strongly Recommended.

Christine Vrooman, Vineyard Manager
Nathan Vrooman, Winemaker
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 12.9%
Production: 220 Cases
SRP: $42
Sample provided by Ankida Ridge Vineyards

Ankida Ridge Vineyards
1304 Franklin Creek Rd.
Amherst, VA 24521

Growing wine regions need your help. I encourage you to visit local wineries and to buy from small producers. All 50 states produce wine. When you are traveling, seek out the local producers and give them a chance! You could be surprised and impressed by the quality you discover.

Related Post: Dreaming of Virginia Wine.