Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Experience the Wines of Hungary @BlueDanubeWine


Learning about the Wines of Hungary.

Looking for a new wine experience? Want to expand your wine world vocabulary? Do you enjoy the challenge of pairing wine with food? Then I suggest you seek out wines from Hungary.

This year I've delighted in wines from many regions of the United States and from parts around the world. It has been a year of several wine "firsts" for me. I can now add Hungarian wines to my list of wines enjoyed from around the world. The three Hungarian wines I experienced were made from distinct Old World varieties; Kardarka, Furmint and Olaszrizling.

Hungary is Wine History

Viticulture in the lands that became Hungary dates back more than two thousand years. The tribes responsible for developing their regional wine culture were deeply influenced by traditions brought from Central Asia, Roman practices and advanced methods from Western Europe. Ancient cultivars from the East adapted best to the region’s diverse often volcanic soils, this has added a distinctiveness to Hungarian wines.

By the 16th century, Hungarian wines were the toast of Europe and the favorites of royal courts. Yes, that Tokaj. But the Communist period that followed World War II saw the collectivization of production and a reduction in quality. Today, only 20 years after the re-establishment of private and family wineries, Hungary is in the midst of a wine renaissance. The potential of its 22 distinct appellations and breadth of indigenous varieties and traditions of winemaking are only now being truly (re)discovered. Source, Blue Danube Wine Company.

Some useful Hungarian phrases:

  • Egészségedre (Egg-e-sheg-e-dre) – To your health.
  • Jo étvágyat (Yo-etvA-yat) – Bon appetit.
  • "Bor" –  One of the most unique ways to say "wine" in Europe.

A big thank you for the wine samples provided by Blue Danube Wine Company.
www.bluedanubewine.com
@BlueDanubeWine

Tasting Notes the Wines of Hungary


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1. Eszterbauer, Kadarka Nagyapám 2011 
Proprietor: Janos Eszterbauer
Website: Eszterbauer Winery
Country Location: Hungary

It was recommended to gently chill this wine before serving.

Eszterbauer owns 8 hectares of vineyards, but fully farms a total of 22, spanning more than 7 sites over about 4 km from north to south. Soils are mainly windblown loess mixed with 30% chalk. The north/south ridge defining Szekszárd is a buckle of sedimentary soil caused by tectonic activity long ago. Szekszárd is a protected wine region consisting of 2700 hectares spread over 30 km. Aspects vary but most planted sites are south east facing. 9 separate clones of Kadarka are planted in the Eszterbauer vineyards. The fruit from their oldest vineyards is the base for “Nagyapám” (Grandfather), argued by many to be Hungary’s finest Kadarka. Source: Blue Danube Wine Company.

Tasting Notes:
Very smooth, gentle tannin backed with friendly acid, felt texture on the throat. It was peppery with some celery on the nose and drank almost like a Pinot Noir, but different. Dry finish. Happy tongue. Lovely expression of terroir. Nice texture, fine tannin. After 70 minutes it was bright, almost sweet, BBQ ribs came to mind. Quite enjoyable.

Day two: Kadarka had medium body, more acid than tannin, red fruit, leather, tingly, cherry leather.

Thoughts: A fun change of pace and food friendly. The label is cool too and relates the history of the brand. Recommended.

Varietals: Kadarka
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 14%
SRP: $18
Sample provided by Blue Danube Wines

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2. Bodrog Borműhely Furmint Lapis 2011
Proprietor: Hajdú János & Farkas Krisztián
Website: Bodrog Borműhely Winery

Country Location: Hungary

2011 Bodrog Bormuhely Lapis Furmint was fermented with native yeasts in local oak. It underwent full malolactic fermentation and then 9 months of aging sur lie. In North-Eastern Hungary, Tokaji-Hegyalja warranted the world’s first appellation system over 100 years before Bordeaux.

Bodrog Borműhely, or “Bodrog wine (bor) workshop” started by János Hajduz and Krisztián Farkas is emblematic of this new era. By maintaining tiny parcels of vineyards in historically great sites, they are making pure, modern, yet classically inspired dry wines. Knowing when to pick and where and then fermenting with native yeasts in local oak barrel are the means to this end. The Lapis Vineyard is near the town of Bodrogkeresztúr and looks down onto the Bodrog River and its floodplains. The 0.7 ha that they farm is at an elevation of 155m and in a breezy spot making dry wines possible. The soil is a mixture of rhyolite with strong brown clay soil and tufa. Source: Blue Danube Wine Company.

Tasting Notes:
Color: Pale straw.
Nose: Resin, mineral, perfume.
Palate: Resin, mineral, full in the mouth, creamy, vanilla custard, light finish. Needed some air for me to enjoy. Others loved it immediately. Nice white peach at 35 minutes and more my speed at this point + nice gentle acid tingle on gums. Similar to an unoaked Chardonnay or at least gently oaked.

Day two: Furmint showed Asian pear, cinnamon, crisp, mineral, floral, perfume, vanilla, clove, peppermint, dry, slightly tannic. Refreshing. How will it drink in 5 or 10 years? Curious. Exotic white wine. Very fine with food. Cheese curds. Bread. Now a fan of Furmint.

Thoughts: An interesting white wine and a good change of predictable pace. Well worth looking for to experience a dry Hungarian wine. Pair with Parmegano Regiano, cheese, pasta dishes. Strongly Recommended.

Varietals: Furmint
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 12.5%
SRP: $21.95
Sample provided by Blue Danube Wine Company

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3. Fekete Olaszrizling 2011
Proprietor: Fekete Béla
Website: Fekete Winery
Country Location: Hungary

  • Olaszrizling: Named Graševina in Croatia, Welchsriesling in Austria, Riesling Italico in Italy, Laški Rizling in Slovenia. AKA Olaszrizling. It is not the Riesling many of us are familiar with.
  • Somlói is Hungary’s smallest appellation. Like approaching an island from the sea. 
  • The winery uses 1200 liter oak barrels at Fekete Béla. Nothing high tech here photo

Today, “The Grand Old Man” of Somló is Fekete Béla. 32 years ago, while on a trip to buy grapes for his garage production, a farmer offered to sell his vineyards on the southern slopes. Fekete BélaFekete accepted and approaching 90 years old, still tends his 4 hectares of beloved Fehérvári-cru. Everything is done by hand, and much like the man, his wines are honest, engaging and highly expressive of the region. Focusing on Hárslevelű, Furmint, Olaszrizling, and Juhfark, Uncle Béla, and his wife, Aunt Bori decided that 2013 would be their final vintage. Source, Blue Danube Wine Company.

Tasting Notes:
Different. Sweet, acid, mineral, not accustomed to this style of wine. Needed air. Unpleasant to me qualities faded, more approachable after 50 minutes. This wine requires careful pairing.

Day two: Olaszrizling is a rustic wine, creamy, musky, starchy, not a mainstream wine. Interesting change of pace. Good with cheese curds. Think potatoes, cheese, mac and cheese. Recommended for the experience and palate expansion. Hmm...

Varietals: Olaszrizling
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 14%
SRP: $25
Sample provided by Blue Danube Wine Company

I had never considered visiting Hungary for wine. This introduction to Hungarian wines has definitely caught my attention. A friend of mine who lives in Portugal has told me Hungary is a fascinating place to visit. It is a country with a rich history of wine that is now re-emerging. Hungary is now on my "must visit" wine country list.

Blue Danube Wine Company distributes wines as a wholesaler to wine retailers, supermarkets, and better restaurants within California. Simultaneously, they continue to build a nation-wide network of distributors. Please contact them if you would like to distribute their wines in your state.

Samples provided by Blue Danube Wine Company
www.bluedanubewine.com
@BlueDanubeWine

Egészségedre!

Wine Review: Domaine du Sac 2013 Wollersheim Winery - Wisconsin @WollersheimWine

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Wine can be a life-long pursuit; the consumption of, study of, and the making of wine. In my opinion, it is a great motivator for travel. This year I have been fortunate to continue to expand my wine knowledge and to experience new to me wines each month. I'm not traveling far from home this year, I am wine tasting at home and last week I experienced my first wine from Wisconsin.

Wollersheim Winery sits on a hillside overlooking the Wisconsin River across from Prairie du Sac. The location was sited to be a winery in the 1840's. Wine and brandy were made on the property from American grape varieties until 1899 when it became a more conventional farm. The land was not to be used again for growing grapes and wine making until 1972 when Robert and JoAnn Wollersheim purchased the property.

In 1984 Beaujolais winemaker Philippe Coquard joined the winery. He eventually married the Wollersheims daughter Julie. Today Julie and Philippe run Wollersheim Winery. The winery has continued to grow and expand production. They purchased another winery, Cedar Creek Winery, adding to their brand. Today, annual production has risen from 15,000 gallons in 1987 to 220,000 gallons (84,000 cases) in 2012. When you visit Wisconsin and northern Illinois, you will find Wollersheim and Cedar Creek wines in stores and restaurants.

*Note: Wollersheim began making Brandy in 2010 made from Lacrosse and St. Pepin grapes!

Wollersheim Estate, Lake Wisconsin AVA

Wollersheim has 27 acres of estate vineyards. They are part of the Lake Wisconsin Viticultural Area. Because of the climate, they grow four winter-hardy hybrid varietals:
  • Maréchal Foch and Leon Millot are French-American red hybrids.
  • Saint Pepin and Lacrosse are Wisconsin-native American hybrids.
Located in the south-central part of the state, Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River form part of the appellation’s boundaries, both moderate winter temperatures. Vineyards are at an elevation of 800-900 feet, with south and southwest-facing slopes enjoying good water and air drainage. Delayed frost and a growing season of 140-160 days is two to three week longer than adjacent areas. Average annual precipitation is lower than most of the state. Deep, well-drained, gravelly and sandy loam glacial till soils also distinguish this AVA. Source, Appellation America.

The wine I received was made from 90% Maréchal Foch and 10% Leon Millot.

Tasting Notes Domaine du Sac 2013 Wollersheim Winery:

Color: Dark ruby.
Nose: Liked the nose. Candied, rose petals, dark earth note, cherry, pepper mill, cinnamon.
Palate: Cherry, red currant, lot of cherry front palate, smooth, with nice acid finish. Kind of a Beaujolais style/influence. Very appealing at 43 minutes. Balanced out, nose, palate, finish complimentary. Mid-palate filled out, dark earthy notes. European style, a sour/tart cherry finish I enjoyed. Nice savory, black cherry after an hour. Decanting helped.

Day Two: Lovely fruit, interesting intensity on the gums, still showing savory black cherry. Some coffee notes on the nose and the finish.

Thoughts: Surprised by this wine. It was a good and an enjoyable medium bodied summer red wine. Drink now and over the next 3 years. Big thank you to Wollersheim Winery. Recommended.

Blend: 90% Maréchal Foch, 10% Leon Millot, Estate
ABV: 13%
AVA: Lake Wisconsin
CLOSURE: Natural Cork
SRP: $14
Sample provided by the winery

Wollersheim Winery
Telephone 1-800-VIP-WINE (847-9463)
Local Telephone 608-643-6515
Fax 608-643-8149
Mailing Address:

PO Box 87

Prairie du Sac, WI
53578-0087
www.wollersheim.com

Wisconsin Wine Resources:
Maréchal Foch (pronounced "mar-esh-shall-fosh"): A French-American hybrid developed by Eugene Kuhlmann is reportedly the result of a North American riparia-rupestris and a vinifera (Goldriesling) pairing.  However, some believe the North American parent is really Oberlin Noir, a Gamay-riparia cross once commercially cultivated in Burgundy. Source, Appelation America.

Leon Millot (sometimes called "Leon Millot Rouge"): The offspring of a North American Riparia-rupestris and Vinifera (Goldriesling) parents. Earlier in the 20th century, Leon Millot became a relatively important hybrid in northern French regions such as Alsace, where its ability to deepen the pale color of varieties like Pinot Noir was seen as a virtue. Today, its use has all but been legislated out of existence in French vineyards, following the introduction of AOC regulations in the 1930s. Source, Appelation America.

Cheers!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wine of the Week: Stottle 2011 Tempranillo Sugarloaf Vineyard @StottleWinery

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A blissful bottle of Washington Tempranillo.

It is a privilege to taste, sample, experience and review wine. Over the years I have built a mental image of what wine means to me. The more wine I experience, the more I want to experience. There is a world of wine waiting to be discovered.

If you have followed along with the #winemuse podcast show I am co-hosting, then you know that each month we taste and review a wine from a different country. So far we have visited Argentina, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany and next month Austria. As the show has evolved, we have added conversations with the winemakers. We are expanding our knowledge and awareness of wine from around the world and hope that some of you are joining us. It is a lot of fun and worthwhile. My mental image of wine continues to evolve.

How does this translate and how is it relevant to the 2011 Stottle Tempranillo? Recognition of exceptional wine. I knew instantly this would be my "Wine of the Week." Expect more reviews of Stottle wines soon. Big thank you and Kudos to Winemaker Josh Stottlemyer.

Tasting Notes Stottle Tempranillo Sugarloaf Vineyard 2011

Color: Garnet Birthstone.
Nose: Blissful cherry, softest glove leather, nutmeg.
Palate: Delightful, medium-light body, satisfying mouth feel, wonderful texture, happiness. Cherry, with blackberry notes, dry, black tea, spice, with perfect tannin+acid, slightly brambly into the medium finish. Big like. Forced to exercise restraint to stop myself from drinking it all at once. Well done.
20 minutes, richer, fuller in the mouth, satisfying, front palate focused, fine tannin, longer finish. Groovin'!
30 minutes, loved the aroma, focused dark hedonistic fruit, caress of spice. Pow! Pow! Pow! in the mouth. Medley of deliciousness, tongue and gums feeling the tannin love, so supple, pure deliciousness. Oh my!
2.5 hours, spicy coffee, tart blueberry, blackberry juice, a little orange pith, silky mouth, heady dark fruit and tobacco mid-palate, enjoyable dry finish.

Thoughts: Paired with Korean BBQ steak and rice. Wine and Korean BBQ steak had complimentary flavors, dinner was spectacular! This wine was very good at opening and fantastic after 30 minutes. An exceptional wine for dinner and sheer enjoyment. If I had a restaurant this wine would be at the top of my wine list. Strongly Recommended.


Blend: 100% Tempranillo
AVA: Yakima Valley
Vineyard: Sugarloaf Vineyard
Hand Harvested 26 October 2011
ABV: 13.8%
Closure: Natural Cork
Production: 115 Cases
SRP: $29
Winemaker Josh Stottlemyer
Sample provided by the winery

Stottle Winery & Tasting Room
2641 Willamette Dr NE,  Suite C
Lacey, WA 98516
360-515-0356
www.stottlewinery.com

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

Related Post:

Wine Review: Stottle Winery 2012 Viognier Eldering Vineyard

Cheers!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wine Review: 2011 Amancaya Gran Reserva - Argentina

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A rewarding collaboration creates an uplifting Malbec dominant wine.

Amancaya is produced in Argentina’s Mendoza region, by Nicolas Catena of Bodega Catena, in partnership with Barons de Rothchild (Lafite). Catena is one of South America’s largest wineries.

The Amancaya is a flower of the Andes, worn by native Indian women of Mendoza.

Tasting Notes 2011 Amancaya Gran Reserva:

Color: Dark garnet.
Nose: Earthy, leather jacket, cherry, candied,
Palate: Medium body, dry, spicy cherry, light mid-palate, medium finish with heat.
30 Minutes: Nose candied cherry, dusty leather jacket, tar, cedar liner from a cigar tube. Fuller, tobacco, spice, dried cherry, sip of espresso, dry medium finish. More my speed.
45 minutes: Delivering at this point. Cherry, currant, hint of sage, integrated and enjoyable across the palate.
One hour: Creamy with apple tannin, dry cherry, dry on the cheeks, swirled across the tongue, tobacco, cherry-coffee finish with nice kiss of acid. Not heavy, uplifting and tasty. Masculine wine.

Day two: Gorgeous deep purple color. Dark fruit, violets, candied cherry and tobacco. Rich, fine tannin, dark fruit, slightly smoky and spicy, tobacco, plum on dry grippy finish. Pretty nose and satisfying finish.

Thoughts: A young wine which is still developing. Decant if you drink now. Best served slightly chilled 50-55F. Recommended.


Blend: 70% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon
Country: Mendoza Argentina
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 15%
Sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports

Produced and bottled by Bodegas Caro in partnership with S.A. Les Domaines Barons De Rothschild (Lafite)/Nicolas Catena

Related posts:



Cheers!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wine Review: Mackey Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley

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Great things develop with time. 

The Mackey brothers, Philip and Roger launched Mackey Vineyards in 2010. Expect great things from this winery.

Tasting Notes:

Color: Garnet
Nose: Opened with a caress of cherry, rose petal, pencil shavings, and vanilla, joined by chocolate wrapper, caramel taffy, crushed conifer needles and tobacco leaf.
Palate: Medium bright, currant, tart edges, cherry tart, vanilla. Bright at opening.
After 30 minutes bakers chocolate with orange notes on the finish - fresh.
At 60 minutes the wine began to open up, drier and fuller on the palate.
At two hours held steady. Magic window was three hours. Smooth, integrated, earthy read fruit, violets, cigar box, cumin, cherry, anise, very tasty accompaniment to dinner.

Thoughts: At opening a subtle tart wine. Suitable for food, especially Beef Carpaccio, Beef Tartar or an extremely rare bloody steak. For more enjoyment I would decant for at least an hour; interesting aromatics developed while the palate broadened, becoming drier and less tart. Suitable for Filet Mignon, rib roast, leg of lamb and especially Osso Bucco. After three hours dinner and wine were ready - sautéed mushrooms, red wine reduction sauce and tender steaks. The Mackey 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon was a beautiful match. My suggestion is to open and decant for three hours and then enjoy. Plenty of life in this bottle of wine to cellar for at least 5 years. Recommended.


Blend: 80.4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.7% Merlot, 4.9% Petit Verdot.
Vineyards: Mackey, Heather Hills, Gamache.
Closure: Natural cork
ABV: 14.2%
SRP: $32
Review sample

Mackey Vineyards
4122 Powerline Road
Walla Walla, WA  99362
Phone:  509.526.5160
www.mackeyvineyards.com

Related Posts:



Cheers!

Wine Review: Holman Ranch 2012 Estate Grown Pinot Gris @holmanranch

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Electric wine, think summer downpour, ozone and lightning in a bottle!

You want this wine. I want more of this wine. Order the Holman Ranch 2012 Estate Grown Pinot Gris when you see it on the menu or buy it direct from the winery. Highly Recommended + Great Value.

Tasting Notes:

Color: Pale gold with green highlights.
Nose: Essence of stone fruit, mineral, ginger skin, a spicy floral note with a hint of pineapple.
Palate: Fresh, mineral, unripe peach pith, dry slate mid-palate, almost tart, with lemon peel on the clean uber dry finish. Yowza! Screams for raw oysters. Would suit soft creamy cheese, bread dipped in olive oil, and fried chicken. Grabbed my attention.

Day Two: Still crisp, good acidity, tingle on teeth, vibrant on the tongue, focused with a long satisfying tart lemon/tangerine with slate finish. So my speed, craving BLT and Mac and Cheese.
A satisfying crisp, dry wine. Highly Recommended + Great Value.


ABV: 12.5%
Closure: Real cork
SRP: $16
Sample provided by the winery

Holman Ranch
P.O. Box 149
Carmel Valley, CA 93924
Tel (831) 659-2640
Fax (831) 659-6055
www.holmanranch.com

*Since Holman Ranch is a private residence, all visits are by appointment only. Please call in advance.

Tasting Room
19 E. Carmel Valley Road
Suite C
Carmel Valley, CA 93924
Tel (831) 659-2640
Fax (831) 659-6055
wines@holmanranch.com
Tasting Room Hours
Mon–Sun - 11am–6pm
Private Tasting - Call for information

Related Posts:
Cheers!

Review: Holman Ranch 2010 Hunters' Cuvee Pinot Noir @holmanranch

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When you visit Yelp to read the reviews of Holman Ranch and their wines, you will learn that they are rated 5 STARS. Customer feedback is strong and positive. The facility and property are unanimously rated as “gorgeous” and “peaceful” and “out of the way.” Service was also unanimously reported as “exceptional” and “professional.”

The 400 acre property at Holman Ranch has become a venue for weddings, special events and corporate retreats. And they have 19 acres of estate vineyards. Varietals grown on property include: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.

Tasting Notes Holman Ranch 2010 Hunters' Cuvee Pinot Noir:

Color: Dusky garnet
Nose: Expansive, earthy strawberry, deep raspberry, pepper mill, lilac, bacon fat, lovely aromatics.
Palate: Juicy, medium body, strawberry, blackberry, bright mid-palate, rich red fruit finish. This wine pleased at opening and continued to delight the senses until the bottle was empty.

At two hours it was gorgeous. Chills on that taste.

Thoughts: a superior Pinot Noir that will delight with meals and with cherished company. A true pleasure with spinach salad with bacon crumbs and honey mustard dressing, side of olive oil toasted bread and fried pork chops. I encourage you to seek out Holman Ranch wines. If you are anywhere near Carmel Valley a visit to their property is mandatory. They are on my must visit list.
Strongly Recommended.

ABV: 14.4%
Closure: Natural cork
SRP: $40
Sample provided by winery

Holman Ranch
P.O. Box 149
Carmel Valley, CA 93924
Tel (831) 659-2640
Fax (831) 659-6055
www.holmanranch.com

*Since Holman Ranch is a private residence, all visits are by appointment only. Please call in advance.

Tasting Room
19 E. Carmel Valley Road
Suite C
Carmel Valley, CA 93924
Tel (831) 659-2640
Fax (831) 659-6055
wines@holmanranch.com
Tasting Room Hours
Mon–Sun - 11am–6pm
Private Tasting - Call for information

Related Posts:


About Holman Ranch

Holman Ranch is located in the Carmel Valley, California. It was originally part of Mexico and the land was bestowed to the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo during the Spanish era. One of the first ranches was the Los Laureles Rancho that included property which today is Holman Ranch. In the 1920's the Ranch served as a retreat for Hollywood celebrities; including Charlie Chaplin and Theda Bara. By the 1940's Holman Ranch became one of the first resorts in the Carmel Valley and host to another generation of Hollywood celebrities. Some of the famous actors you would have seen included: Clark Gable, Vincent Price, Joan Crawford and Marlon Brando.

In 1989 estate vineyards were planted on the property. In 2006 the property was purchased by Thomas and Jarman Lowder. They refurbished and updated the Ranch, fulfilling their dream of making estate grown and bottled wines and olive oil.

Cheers!