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Showing posts from August, 2014

Book Review: Vertical and an Interview with the Author Rex Pickett

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A book review followed by a conversation with the author. 
This month I read the book, "Vertical: A Novel" by Rex Pickett, author of "Sideways: A Novel." 


Rex Pickett wrote the book "Sideways" which was adapted into the award winning movie of the same name, "Sideways." Yes, that movie about wine. Most of us know "Sideways" as the movie and not the book. Of course I own a copy of the movie. Many of us in the wine business also know that the movie increased sales of Pinot Noir, while depressing sales of Merlot. It is the most influential movie about wine in history and had a perceptible influence on American wine culture. Sideways [Blu-ray].

One of the pleasures of co-hosting #WineMuse World Wine Tour is working with an amazing host, Linda Rez. Linda regularly interviews musicians, artists and authors on her Minstrel and Muse Audio Art Magazine. She kindly invited me to join her in an interview with Rex Pickett. This is now a featured epi…

WineMuse Review: 2012 Biohof Pratsch Grüner Veltliner Rotenpullen Organic, Austria

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Grüner Veltliner is Austrian Wine 

This was the featured wine of the August 2014 #WineMuse podcast on Minstrel and Muse Audio Art Magazine. We tasted this wine live on the show. You can listen to our podcast and taste along as we discover the beauty of Austrian Grüner Veltliner.

The outstanding passion and innovative ideas of today’s young owner Stefan Pratsch are supported by his parents Wilhelm and Anneliese. Stefan decided at the age of 14 to make wine. His parents readily supported him and invested in this new family venture. Today the family winery is producing about 30,000 cases of wine.

Tasting Notes:

Color: Straw to pale gold.
Nose: Nutty, melon.
Palate: Some effervescence, crisp, lively, peach emphasized with food. Broader as it warmed with savory peach, nutty, with a lovely spike of acid and effervescence on the tongue. Some white pepper
At 25 minutes: Interesting nose. Like. Honey, nutty, peppery, creamy peach. Focused front palate, crisp/creamy nectarine, tingly.
At 40 minutes…

Celebrating #CabernetDay on Red Mountain with Fidelitas and Col Solare

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Today is the 5th Annual #CabernetDay. 

This is the day wine aficionados around the world buy, drink and tweet about that most famous of red wines, Cabernet Sauvignon.  Today I visited two wineries on Red Mountain, Fidelitas and Col Solare.

Last night I was tweeting after #winechat and saw tweets from @FidelitasWines about a special Cabernet Sauvignon tasting at their Red Mountain tasting room. All that was required to receive a taste of a "special" bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, was to tweet about @FidelitasWines and #CabernetDay and be retweeted. Which I did and was, so today I zipped over to the winery to enjoy some world class Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes I am truly lucky.


Plenty of clouds and gentle breezes took the edge off the heat today. Welcoming the beautiful day on Red Mountain was a treat. I asked for permission to wander their Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard to take photos. Always ask friends. Of course I was in for a special and delicious red wine tasting. Winemaker Charl…

A Week Of Wine - Catching Up

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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



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



#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 pol…

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

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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 rele…

Wine Review: Mercer Wine Estates 2012 Chardonnay @MercerEstates

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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 …

Wines of Soléna Estate Dundee, Oregon @SolenaEstate

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"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 c…

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

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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 …

Perfume Review - Fragrances of Wine @FragrancesWine

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Senses Seduced. 

It was my pleasure to accept an invitation to review the new perfumes of Fragrances of Wine. Fragrances 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 sen…

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

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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 Vi…