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Showing posts from July, 2014

Experience the Wines of Hungary @BlueDanubeWine

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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 dis…

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 …

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…

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. Masc…

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…

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…

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…

Wine Review: Salanques 2009 Mas Doix - Priorat

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I enjoyed this bottle of wine earlier in the year. At the time I was transitioning to RAW image format on my digital camera. I was shooting RAW without .JPG. Finding photos, I have many, without .JPG thumbnails is almost impossible. Now I shoot RAW with .JPG and that makes it much easier to find photos. Today I made an effort to hunt the "orphaned" RAW files for images of the Salanques Mas Doix. Success! My review may be several months late, but this is a wine worthy of finding.

Note: I like the look of the label. Very cool and presents well. This is my first exposure to Priorat wines. Priorat is a Catalan Denominació d'Origen Qualificada (DOQ) in Catalan for wines produced in the Priorat county to the south-west of Catalonia. There are 50 + wineries in the region which is near Barcelona, Spain. I want to visit.

Tasting notes Salanques 2009 Mas Doix - Priorat:

Color: Clear ruby.
Nose: Dark chocolate, cranberry, wood cutting board, Jasmine perfume, incense, empty cup of c…

Wine Review: Heinz Eifel 2011 Spätlese, Mosel, Germany

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Friday wine. 

This wine was featured on our Wine Muse World Tour #WineMuse podcast show.

Heinz Eifel takes personal control over the whole wine making process: from grapevine to bottling. His daughter, Anne Eifel-Spohr has taken over the position of winemaker for the HEINZ EIFEL label. She has been active in the company since 2001 and continues the long family tradition started in 1640. I enjoyed speaking with winemaker Anne-Eifel Spohr on our #winemuse podcast. You can listen to the recorded podcast here.

Tasting Notes:

Color: Pale Gold
Nose: Mineral hit, steely, intense, pear, honey, cinnamon from sagebrush. Big like.
Palate: Honeyed pear, apricot, not heavy sweet, touch of sweet backed by great acidity, medium-heavy, nice weight and lovely flavors, spicy cinnamon, nice brace of acid back of cheeks. Luxurious fruit finish.

Day two: Lovely, still fresh, bright steely nose with cinnamon. Nice acid tingle under the tongue. Balanced. Flavors of gently ripe honeyed nectarine went down easy…

Wine of the Week: Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Vineyard 2012 Riesling Columbia Valley @SteMichelle

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My New Favorite Washington Riesling 

This week I spoke with Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker Wendy Stuckey; wonderful conversation and worth listening to on our #winemuse World Tour podcast. Afterwards, I was eager to bring home a bottle of  her Riesling. Lucky me, I found this 2012 Cold Creek Vineyard Riesling on sale for $11.99 - a fantastic bargain for an amazing wine.

Cold Creek Vineyard was planted in the 1970's and is one of the oldest Washington vineyards. Truly impressed by this vintage and bottle of Riesling. Phenomenal wine, especially on such a hot week in the Columbia Valley. Loved this wine.

Suggested music pairing: Luluc - Passerby. Pour yourself a glass and put this album on - relax.


Tasting Notes:

Color: Pale straw, edged with green highlights.
Nose: Bright mineral core, apple peel, melon, wet slate, honey, eucalyptus kissed with cinnamon. Phenomenal nose, intense and satisfying. Peach blossom added as it warmed.
Palate: Wow! Cinnamon, melon, honey, river rock, apple, f…

Review: 2012 Marie De Beauregard Chinon - Saget La Perriere - France

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A lighter red perfect for summer fare.

I don't care how hot it is outside, it's hot, I'm still grilling. My grill is getting a solid workout this summer and I've developed a farmers tan from standing outside turning burgers, steaks and dogs. That's okay with me as long as I have a chilled wine to go with my meals. When I eat red meat, I prefer red wine. But it is hot outside. A good option for summer heat is to pair with chilled, lighter bodied red wines. This Loire Valley Cabernet Franc will please many. It has flavor, depth, character and held up well over two days. Bring this wine home for the table.

Tasting Notes:

Color: Garnet.
Nose: Fragrant, chalky cherry, raspberry, earthiness, white pepper.
Palate: Medium weight, light mid-palate, thin cherry, light finish.
10 minutes: Pleasantly dry, modest cherry finish. All the action on the nose. Serve chilled with aperitifs. Seafood would be appropriate.
2.5 hours: Fluid, bacon fat, Cherry, currant, cola, dry on the tongue,…

Review: La Petite Perrier 2013 Pinot Noir - Saget La Perriere, France

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Attack the heat of summer with this playful red wine. 

This year I've enjoyed several wines by Saget la Perriere; in particular the "Domaine de la Perriere Sancerre" and "La Petite Perriere Sauvignon Blanc", both lovely white wines. Now I've had the opportunity to appreciate their La Petite Perriere Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is typically a light bodied variety and this Loire Valley Pinot Noir is certainly well suited for this hot summer. Don't neglect to also serve red wine for family and friends this season. I hope these tasting notes help you in selecting a wine for your indoor and outdoor events.

Tasting Notes:

Color: Pale ruby.
Nose: Light, delicate strawberry, glimmer of light off an earthy core, whispers of petrol.
Palate: Pretty, light with good medium weight, just bright with fresh cherry, almost creamy, delightful on the palate. Playful wine. Light finish with dash of spice. Pretty, delicate, feminine wine. Like.
After 20 minutes: Fresh, light, fun, cr…

Review: 2011 Lafite Reserve Special Bordeaux - France

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Red is for Summer too.

We're in the midst of a heat wave. Yes, it is dry heat, but seriously, triple digits is hot. You might think reaching for a white would be my first impulse in this hot weather. It is. But sometimes I want a red wine too. When selecting red wine in the summer, shy away from the big heavy reds. Look for something light and fresh. This 2011 Lafite Bordeaux is an excellent choice for summer. An approachable and affordable Bordeaux. I hope the following tasting notes help you in selecting a red wine this summer.

Tasting Notes 2011 Lafite Reserve Special Bordeaux :

Color: Cherry red.
Nose: Cherry fruit leather, cardamon, spice mill.
Palate: Light, dry cherry, strawberry, delicate, feminine quality, balanced dry finish. A delicate, balanced red wine that will delight the senses on a hot, humid day. Well suited for anything cooked on the grill. I enjoyed this wine with grilled baby back ribs. Excellent pairing.

Thoughts: The low alcohol, delicate body and balance presen…

Wine Review: Stottle Winery 2012 Viognier Eldering Vineyard @StottleWinery

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Baby it's hot outside!

We are well on track for a warmer than usual growing season. Yes, it is hot. Thankfully, every business I visit in the Columbia Valley has AC. At home too. Earlier this week I was in Seattle for a couple of days. Surprising how many businesses do not have AC in the Emerald city. If you are seeking respite from the summer heat, I recommend the Stottle Winery Viognier. Serve with or without AC. Thank me later for recommending this wine. Enjoy and keep cool.

Tasting Notes Stottle Winery 2012 Viognier Eldering Vineyard

Color: Straw/pale gold.
Nose: Pear, fresh baled hay.
Palate: Medium-full body, creamy, pear skin, almost tart, hint of heat. Tingle on the lips. Medium pear skin finish.
After 10 minutes: Pear, Honeydew melon, river rock, nutty on nose. Creamy mouth feel, mild pear, mild tartness back palate, river rock on the long pear finish. Modest wine at open, finish dominant and enjoyable, lingered and lingered.
30 minutes: Spicy, melon-pear nose, grass adds nice…

Spotlight on Wind Rose Cellars Red Wines @windrosecellars

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Italian inspired Washington red wines. 
Wind Rose Cellars focuses on making wine from Italian varieties. Their wines tend to be more crisp and fruit forward by design. The following tasting notes are for the Wind Rose Cellars Sangiovese, Primitivo and Dolcetto. It should be no surprise that these wines made me think instantly of food, family and friends.

Located in Sequim Washington, Wind Rose Cellars selects grapes based on flavor development and balance more than on brix. Sequim is on the west side of Washington at the top of the Olympic Peninsula. Grapes are sourced from Wahluke Slope AVA, Red Mountain AVA and Horse Heaven Hills AVA in eastern Washington. 

SANGIOVESE - Sangiovese derives from the Latin sanguis Jovis, "the blood of Jove".
It is most famous as the only component of Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino and the main component of the blend Chianti, Carmignano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Morellino di Scansano. It can also be used to make varietal …

White Wines of Wind Rose Cellars @windrosecellars

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Three lovely white wines from Sequim, Washington. 

Where's Sequim? That is a fair question. Even people from Washington may have difficulty pointing out Sequim on the map. At least we know the proper way to pronounce "Sequim." Growing up, my parents took summer vacations as an opportunity to explore Washington. We drove all over the coast, through the rain forest and up the Olympic Peninsula. I recall a memorable trip to Port Angeles where we took the ferry to Vancouver Island. To get to the Port Angeles ferry we drove through Sequim. It's been many years since I've visited that area.

*Map: Map to Sequim and Wind Rose Cellars.

Sequim is located along the Dungeness River near the base of the Olympic Mountains. The city has been increasing in population in recent years due to the influx of retirees from the Puget Sound region and California. Population as of 2010 was 6,600.

The city and the surrounding area are particularly known for the commercial cultivation of l…

Wine Review: Columbia Crest Two Vines 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley @columbiacrest

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Washington Cabernet Sauvignon for less than $10?

Looking for an affordable, celebratory July 4th Cabernet Sauvignon? Put the Columbia Crest Two Vines 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon - Columbia Valley on the label, on your list. Very pleased at the quality of this Washington Cabernet Sauvignon for the price. Fire up the grill and start pulling corks!

* See the note below about Columbia Crest being removed from the Two Vines label.

Tasting Notes Columbia Crest Two Vines 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley

Color: Dark ruby.
Nose: Cherry, candied, pencil lead, spicy leather, orange notes.
Palate: Mouth filling cherry pie, medium light body, medium short finish. It was dry and easy drinking. Surprised how well I liked it.  BIG flavor after an hour, medium body, medium finish, moderate acidity,  cherry, currant, plum, orange on the finish.

Thoughts: Most of the action was on the nose and finish. Watery mid-palate, but the finish kept it solid. Big bang for the price! Recommended + Terrific Value.

Wine Review: A to Z Wineworks 2012 Oregon Chardonnay @AtoZwineworks

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June 2014 Virtual Wine Tasting

Monday 30 June 2014 was the monthly Virtual Tasting on twitter hosted by Sean Sullivan of Washington Wine Report. The featured wine was the A to Z Wineworks 2012 Oregon Chardonnay. We used #AtoZwine for our tweets. Yes, Oregon makes more than Pinot Noir.

This wine was well received by all Virtual Tasting participants. I'm eager to try more A to Z wines.

“We’ve grown to become Oregon’s largest winery while following economically and environmentally sound and sustainable practices,” said Deb Hatcher, founder and chief marketing and sales officer at A to Z Wineworks /Rex Hill, in a release. Source: Portland Business Journal, "A to Z Wineworks becomes first winery to achieve top green honors" by Andy Giegerich, June 19, 2014

Tasting Notes A to Z 2012 Oregon Chardonnay

Color: Straw, green highlights

Nose: Delicate honeysuckle, mineral, summer morning rain on slate patio, lime. After 25 minutes pineapple and banana appeared. After 40 minutes satsum…