Tag Archives: Food

Napa Valley – Mount Veeder Winery 2010 vs. 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon

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Mount Veeder Winery

I am finding it quite interesting to revisit previous posts on Whine and Cheers. Comparing  vintages from the same producers adds to the excitement.

A recent promotional Amazon/Whole Foods Market wine program did the job of reminding me about Mount Veeder Winery and their 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. My original post is provided below.

Fast forward to 2018 as I find one lonely bottle of the 2014 in a display of the 2015 vintage. Cue the spotlight and celebratory music in the background. Yes, I realize I am a wine geek. But I am a wine geek that just found a highly regarded 92 point rated wine that I may never see again!

And that’s how this review came to be. Well actually will come to be,  because I haven’t tried the wine as of yet. Wait for it; I will be partaking and writing my post LIVE or as live as it can be by the time you are reading this. I usually, have my wine, collect my  notes. do some research and write as the spirit moves me.  Well, not today! Is that a cork I hear popping?  Or is it the sound of my Coravin slurping…

Winemaker Notes

Deep ruby in color with intense dark fruit aromas of black currant, followed by wet earth, mushroom, and caramelized sugar. Hints of dried herb and the classic California bay that is a signature of Mt. Veeder round out the nose. Earthy flavors that evoke the mountain follow, along with dark chocolate, black olive, and sweet bay leaf. The palate is long and rich with classic cassis flavors that linger. The soaring structure and acidity ensure its age-ability for years to come. 

Blend: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Syrah, and 1% Malbec.

My Notes, happening now:

Herbaceous with red and dark fruit on the nose, including; white pepper, bay leaf, forest floor,  mushrooms and some alcohol that soon dissipates.  For me it was fruitier on the finish than at the front palate.  Although a bit tight at the start, decanting or aging will make this a smooth beauty in the days to come.

On-line acclaim:

92 Pt James SucklingAromas of plums and terracotta follow through to a medium to full body, soft and velvety tannins and a juicy finish. Delicious already. Drink now or hold.

So glad I got to rediscover this old favorite. Happy to also see that a new vintage is available so I have some catching up to do. Did someone say 2015? 2016? I need to start making some room in the wine cellar. ¡SALUD!

The previous post…….

I have my new customer base at Whole Foods Market North Miami to thank for introducing me to the Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon.  Customer after customer, probably better described as fans of this wine have repeatedly let me know how well priced [$30-32.00 range] this wine is at our store. I’ve had shoppers buy it by the case [with an extra 10% discount]  tell me they can’t get it better priced on-line or via wine clubs. Good for them and good for us!

Mount Veeder Winery in Napa Valley, was the first to grow all five red Bordeaux varietals planted on the same property. In fact this Cabernet is actually made up of; 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec.

Winery info:

Mount Veeder Winery is a dramatic estate with three vineyards carved high in the hillsides of the Mayacamas Mountains, overlooking southern Napa Valley. The property totals 121 acres, mostly forest and brush, out of which only 47 are planted to vine.

Vines ranging from 1,000–1,600 feet in elevation cling to rugged, steep slopes that offer cool conditions that lead to slow ripening, which extends the growing season. Mount Veeder is usually the last to harvest in Napa Valley. The result is fruit with highly concentrated flavors – big, bold and brambly – a Cab lover’s feast.

My notes:

Dark ruby-red in color I noted the fact the nose was so well-balanced immediately as I decanted. Within minutes wood [oak] started to overtake the dark fruit. The aroma of leather arrived soon afterwards with the return of rich fruit as mere minutes passed.

With bold tannins and medium body this wine needs to breathe/open.  A richness developed at the 20-30 minute mark with eucalyptus and an earthiness on the nose and palate.  At one and a half hours cocoa, cigar box  and a fruit finish was established. By the 2 hour mark the herbaceous notes on the nose expanded along with vanilla on the palate.  At 3 hours my notes just read; incredible smoothness.

Obviously I enjoyed this wine and I can see why many of my customers do also. Would I decant this wine for 3 hours? Probably not. But I have to admit the “smooth” epiphany at one and a half hours was well worth the wait!  Not only will I need patience when pouring this wine again, yes I have another bottle in the cellar, but I will also need the gift of patience to wait and not open it tonight!  ¡SALUD!

Winemaker Jane Myers notes:

Appearance: Deep ruby
Aromas: Ripe black currant, dark cherry, and lilac interlace with black pepper, bay leaves, coffee, and toasted oak to create a rich, dense nose.
Flavors: Powerful, rich, and textured notes of dark cherry, ripe plum, caramel, and vanilla weave an intense, voluminous mouthfeel accented by hints of anise and mocha. The back palate is rounded out by a lengthy yet smooth finish of vibrant sweet oak, tobacco leaves, and black olives.

Time in Oak: 20 months

Type of Oak: 70% new oak, predominantly French with some American oak.

Total Acidity: 6.1 g/l

Alcohol: 14%

Additional winery info:

Mount Veeder Winery was one born from the hard work and dedication of Michael and Arlene Bernstein.  The Bernsteins first discovered the rugged property in the early 1960s and later bought it as a rustic retreat.  In the ensuing years they transformed it into an enviable vineyard, almost by accident. After farming the property’s prune orchard for the first few years, a farmhand who lived on the property presented the Bernsteins with a bundle of cast-off grapevine cuttings.  Michael stuck the unrooted cuttings into the ground and never gave them a drop of water.  Miraculously, of the 60 cuttings planted, 58 lived.  Michael turned his full attention to the vines and built his land into a thriving vineyard, ultimately making history as the first vintner in Napa Valley to plant one property to all five of the classic Bordeaux varieties.

Whole Foods Market North Miami – The Day After the Day Before

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The Day After the Day Before.  An opening sentence that may need a little explaining.  The Day After: Yesterday was our stores PREVIEW day with sold out tours from noon to 8 PM. My unofficial estimate is about 400 guests [including me!] got to enjoy not only the visuals but many sample products to taste and take home in their goodie bags.  The Day Before: because tomorrow is GRAND OPENING! All kinds of sampling events are planned including free breakfast being served between 8-9 AM and even more goodie bags to the first 500 shoppers.  We have been told not to be surprised if the truly dedicated start lining up as early as 4 AM 🙂

Wisconsin Cheese

The Specialty Teams first week in the store was a lot of work and fun as we all got to know each other and continued to realize what a great team we have.  The  daily tastings of products we will be carrying didn’t hurt either YUM!  Pictured here was the unveiling of a Wisconsin cheese sculpture designed for us with our Art Deco store as its theme. Also pictured here is my wheel cracking training for Parmigiano Reggiano.  Thank you Erin for the great pics! We’ll also be doing this at the store and via a live web feed on Saturday. BTW that’s an 80 lb wheel!

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The wines started to arrive a little over a week ago and continue to do so daily leading up to tomorrows BIG day.

922975_10200985217335786_1753826288_n (1)Of course my favorite day was on a recent Friday. Not because of the usual reasons one would think on this particularly favored day of the week but because that was the day the wine started to arrive.  As we unloaded the palettes and cases I was like a kid in a candy shop in awe of all the names I recognized and even more so over the ones I did not and would soon be discovering.

I have to say our wine set is beautiful. Over 900 wines; Old World [France, Italy, Germany…] divided by countries and New World  Chile and Argentina along with domestic [USA!] divided by varietals [Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chardonnay …].  Also included in our set are; hundreds of beers, Port, Sauterne, Mead, Kosher wine, Saki, Kombucha, Eco-friendly and Biodynamic wines.

As mentioned earlier along with the excitement of having all these new wines to research and taste I was very happy to see many familiar wines I have written about here.  I did a little digging and found at least 20 such examples.  Below you’ll find links to these wines.

As I begin this new and exciting chapter with Whole Foods Market North Miami I found this to be the perfect opportunity to look back as I move forward.  A perfect segueway to ending The Day After the Day Before 🙂   ¡SALUD! 

The Prisoner Orin Swift blend.  Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Show Pinot Noir from Chile.   Joel Gott California Zinfandel.

Chateau Macard Bordeaux.    Four Vines Zinfandel.

Stags Leap  Artemis Blend.  Los Vascos Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.

Innovacion  Torrontes blend.  The Dreaming Tree – Crush California Red Blend.

St Francis Multiple varieties.  Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling.

Dr Loosen Riesling.    Folie a Deux Chardonnay.

Chateau Bonnet white Bordeaux.    Spain’s EVODIA Old Vine Garnacha.

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon.    Hogue Cellars Genesis.

Lamadrid – Cabernet Sauvignon , Malbec Gran Reserva and Malbec Reserva.

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Pinot Noir Smackdown September 6 2012 – Concannon 2010 Selected Vineyards Pinot Noir

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Click for 2011 ResultsYes it’s true! It is time for the 3rd annual Pinot Noir Smackdown. Not only can you follow the days events via social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc. you can share your favorite Pinot Noir and vote for the state or country they come from.  The big winner last year was New Zealand.  2010’s winner was Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

For more information, instructions and rules check out: http://www.winetonite.com/2012/07/30/3rd-annual-pinot-noir-smackdown-september-6-2012/ and to register go to:  http://pinotsmackdown2012.eventbrite.com/ Be sure to tag your entries with #PinotNoirSmackdown.  Per the events organizer;

#PinotSmackdown is an all-day global celebration of the world’s most expressive wine grape combined with a knock-down, drag-out cage fight between YOUR FAVORITE Pinot-producing regions!

Wine lovers have had quite the week with #CabernetDay now being followed by #PinotNoirSmackdown. I usually do not need much of a push to enjoy Pinot Noir.  As I wrote about earlier this year I continue to search for an affordable bold Pinot Noir that grabs my attention the way more expensive ones have in the past.  I am a  fan of BIG Pinot Noir’s from Oregon and the ones I have been drawn too are usually in the $40.00+ range. Examples would be Coehlo’s 2006 and Lachini’s 2007.  Unfortunately nothing I have come across in the $20.00 or below range has come close. But I do enjoy the challenge 🙂

Interestingly enough I have not reviewed my favorite Pinot’s on this site. That will have to change soon since I do still have a bottle of Lachini in the cellar waiting for that special occasion. For those interested in my earlier Pinot Noir reviews check out the links below with both just happening to be from Chile;

Gran Valle de Niebla Reserve: https://whineandcheersforwine.com/2012/04/11/chiles-gran-valle-de-niebla-reserve-pinot-noir-2011/

The Show Pinot Noir: https://whineandcheersforwine.com/2012/03/22/the-show-and-tell-2010-pinot-noir-from-leyda-valley-chile/

Today I am writing about a winemaker that I had never heard of before being employed as a Wine Steward.  As it turns out Concannon has quite the pedigree and interesting history dating back to the late 1800’s.

From their website:

Concannon Vineyard has a proud history of “Firsts.” Always an industry leader, Concannon is the first successful winery to be founded by an Irish immigrant. When James Concannon planted white Bordeaux cuttings in the late 1800s, we became one of the first wineries to make Bordeaux-style wines in California. In 1950, we hired the first professional, female winemaker, Katherine Vajda. In 1961, we introduced America’s First Petite Sirah, sparking a love affair with the variety. Our inaugural vintage was so well-received that we have produced it ever since, and it has become our highly regarded flagship wine. Shortly thereafter, Concannon’s role in the California Cabernet Sauvignon industry became truly historic! From the 1970’s onward, the famous “Concannon Clones 7, 8 & 11” provided the backbone of the huge expansion in Cabernet plantings in California’s premium wine regions as well as in many of Napa’s most prestigious vineyards. California Cabernet, the wine that primarily placed California on the world wine map, was built upon our Concannon Clone vines.

A SILVER MEDAL San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition winner for 2012 the Concannon 2010 Selected Vineyards Pinot Noir is their mid-range tiered wine among others more expensive and Glen Ellen on the lower cost range. Concannon is owned by The Wine Group; the  third-largest wine company by volume behind Constellation Brands and the E&J Gallo Winery.  Their products include among many; Fish Eye, Mogen David, Big House, Flip Flop, Corbett Canyon, Paul Masson, Cupcake Vineyards, Almaden, Inglenook…

Vineyard Notes:

Our Selected Vineyards wines are well-loved varieties from select Central Coast vineyards and represent remarkable value. California’s Central Coast offers unmatched blending diversity from its multitude of microclimates. Cool region grapes contribute distinctive fresh fruit nuances and warm region grapes add depth of flavor and complexity. These highly acclaimed wines take no shortcuts and are easily worth twice their modest price.

Winemaker Notes:

The 2010 Pinot Noir, Selected Vineyards is rich in both color and fragrance.  With aromas of raspberry and ripe strawberry, this medium-bodied wine is very food-friendly. Balanced by warm spice accents of cloves and cinnamon, the bright red fruit flavors finish round and smooth.

My Notes: This being a relatively young wine and usually a light varietal I decided not to aerate as I poured directly into the wine glasses. This was a mistake on my part. The aromas were locked in at first and not flattering to the nose. Surprisingly within 10 minutes this started to change and once I decided to use an attachable aerator on the bottle this became a different wine.  Lesson learned.

Once open I would describe this wine as fruit [red] forward on the nose with raspberry, cherry, and strawberry. An earthiness and spice were also noted but not specifically definable to me beyond that.  I would disagree with the wine maker notes above describing this as a medium body wine; this wine is very light bodied.  Wood on the nose and palate added to the fruity finish [cherry] as it opened beyond 30 minutes. And I must add that this wine had beautiful lingering legs on the wine glasses that we were able to appreciate prior to the wine quickly  disappearing 🙂

In my research I learned that the alcohol content is recorded at 13.5% [+/-] and that 24,000 cases were produced.  I would describe this wine as very drinkable every day wine.  The retail price is listed as $10.00 by the manufacturer, I was able to attain it at a price of $7.99 on sale at Winn-Dixie but have seen it priced as high as $12.99.  I would say that at the $10.00 range this is a very good wine, an easy choice, a perfect example of what I refer to as Grocery Store Wine.

We paired this with roasted garlic chicken and a 4-cheese Merlot risotto I concocted. The pairing was a success and worked incredibly well with the garlic.  Would I buy this wine again? Sure. Would I recommend it to a customer looking for a lite and delicate Pinot Noir in this price range? Yes. Does it compare to Pinot’s in the $40 and higher range? No, but I would not really expect it to.  That search will have to continue for another day but for now I can say we had a lovely weekday meal with a reasonably priced wine that was thoroughly enjoyed and disappeared quickly.  ¡SALUD!

Olympics Opening Ceremony 2012 – Weekend of Wine

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The best things in life are usually unplanned. Having spent my Friday assisting customers with their wine and beer needs for the weekend I felt the urge to do the same. A few e-mails and texts later, it turned out we would be hosting a POP-UP beer, wine, fine cheese and pizza party that same night celebrating the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Spontaneity being the key, a fun time was had by all that partook; imbibing what turned out to be some very nice wines while debriefing each other on the week past and enjoying London’s beautiful Olympic show.

The celebrating did not end on Friday. More get-togethers with great friends continued through Saturday and Sunday all including wine.  While thinking about how lucky we were to all be together, how lucky I am to have friends that enjoy wine as much as I do and realizing we had tried eight different wines in 3 days, I decided to record our imbibing in some form for future reference.  Albeit, reviewing/recording wines experienced in a social setting is not exactly easy.  So, below you will find a somewhat chronological [got fuzzy after a while 🙂 ] drinking diary of our Olympics opening weekend.  Some of the tasting notes are mine and some will be winemaker notes etc.

Fortune was on our side because all were good. We had six red’s, two white’s and I would drink/purchase each of these wines again with no issue. In fact I think I will… ¡SALUD!

Casa Silva Reserva Carmenere 2009

A bold and strong flavored Carmenere. After tasting the Mont Gras [below] I believe this one could use more time in the cellar to mellow. That said, the bottle was emptied quickly by the crowd.

Winemaker’s notes:

Authentic Chilean style. Dark almost purple core with deep sooty red at the fringes. A blend of concentrated blackberry and plum softened by some red fruit character. Distinctive dried herbal and white pepper spice character. A superb balance of full fruit, good acidity, sweet French oak, and full tannins on the long lingering finish. Cutting edge grape coming into its own,  a première producer.

Critical acclaim:

“Purple/black; complex nose of balsamic, herbs, spice box, blueberry; easy-going, no hard edges.”

90 Points The Wine Advocate / Pricing; $12.00-18.00

LaMadrid Reserva Bonarda 2009

I have enjoyed a multitude of different wines from this great winemaker from vintages; 2008,2009, 2010. Never disappointed!

90 points (’10), Wine Advocate:
“nose of underbrush, mineral, plum, mulberry, and violets. Concentrated on the palate with good depth, balance, and length, this flavorful effort deftly combines elegance and power, quite an achievement at this price point.”

Price range; $14.00-$18.00

MontGras Reserva Carmenere 2011

Noted: Surprisingly smoother than the Casa Silva [above] and at a 2011 vintage. I was impressed.

Introduced from France in the 1800s, Carmenère has developed a unique  personality in the “terroir” of Chile, which is today the only  significant source of this uncommon varietal grape. The MontGras vineyards,  in the Colchagua Valley, are in the heart of the Chilean wine country.  The climate is typically Mediterranean, favouring the production of rich  concentrated red wines.

Color: Deep violet red Bouquet: Powerful aromas of spices, wild herbs and  vanilla. Taste:Well-rounded, with subtle fruit flavors and soft tannins  leading to a velvety finish.

Price; $13.00

 Folie à Deux Chardonnay 2010

Noted; a nice golden color. On the nose; yeast/minerality, tropical fruit [pineapple], tree fruit [apple] and melon. Also a slight honey aroma. Its rich flavor supplied nice acidity and a slight buttery taste on the palate with slight oak. As the wine warmed vanilla was also noted.  This is a good chardonnay for those who like some wood and butteriness in their selection.

Composition:100% Chardonnay Oak:Combination of French & American oak barrels (22% new) for five months

Fermented and aged in French oak barrels to preserve the wine’s rich, vibrant fruit character, this quintessential Russian River Chardonnay is a joyful dance of sun, sea and soil. Seductive, complex aromas of honey, green apple, tropical fruits, vanilla and baking bread introduce juicy apple, pineapple and tropical fruit flavors with light butter notes from partial malolactic fermentation and crisp balancing acidity.

Price: $16-18.00

Beringer Chenin Blanc 2010

A tasty treat we served between dinner and dessert. Most expected this to be a sweet wine and were pleasantly surprised that it was somewhat dry instead. I am very impressed with the quality and price point of this wine.

Winemaking Notes Gentle handling and careful attention is given to the Chenin Blanc grapes from the vine to the glass. To retain the delicate varietal flavors, Beringer’s winemakers chill the juices immediately following crush and continue to closely monitor the temperature throughout fermentation.  Just before dryness, they cool the juices even further to halt fermentation and retain a smooth, lush mouthfeel and lingering finish.

Tasting Notes The California Collection Chenin Blanc is a well-balanced wine with aromas and flavors of crisp citrus, melon, and spicy ginger.  It’s meant to be enjoyed with a variety of foods, from Asian and Mexican foods to a casual backyard barbecue with friends.

Price: $5-7.00

Pascual Toso Malbec Mendoza Reserve Barrancas Vineyards 2009

 A well-oaked wine with pencil-shaving aromas yielding to coconut and subtle black fruit notes. The palate is dense, structured and full of cherry, cassis and clove flavors. 

Winemaker notes; This Alta Reserva has a complete harmony of color with a deep, bright red combining with violets hints. Characterized by fruity aromas, blackberry and spices, the mouth has sweet tannins with the presence of spices from oak. All these notes give persistent elegance and complexity to this wine.

Wine Spectator

Quite ripe and flashy, displaying lots of spice, licorice and mocha notes up front, backed by fleshy plum sauce, boysenberry preserve and currant paste notes. Stays nicely layered and focused through the finish. An excellent effort for the vintage. Drink now through 2012. 150 cases imported.

Score: 91. —James Molesworth, December 15, 2010.Price: $18.00

Frei Brothers ReserveFrei Brothers Reserve Dry Creek Merlot 2010

I was glad to see this wine served on a Saturday night dinner outing. We sell it at the store and I have looked forward to trying it. It did not disappoint.  Everything a Merlot should be with the help of a few other varietals to soften the edges [see varietal content below].

The 2010 Dry Creek Valley Merlot captures the rich, ripe flavors of the Dry Creek Valley terroir. Aromas and flavors of red licorice, Satsuma plums, red fruit jam and blackberry meld with hints of toasted oak, milk chocolate and medium-roasted coffee. This medium-bodied wine delivers excellent structure and an elegant finish.

Winemaking Notes

For our 2010 Dry Creek Valley Merlot, we co-crushed the Merlot grapes with Petite Sirah to achieve dark fruit flavors and enhance the overall tannic structure in the wine. The grapes were destemmed, but not crushed, before being cold soaked to extract vivid color and intense flavors. We fermented this wine at warm temperatures, reaching 90°F for a few hours, to create a darker, riper fruit profile. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged on fine lees to soften the mouthfeel. This Merlot was aged for seven months in a combination of French and American oak barrels to impart notes of chocolate and vanilla in the finished wine.

Price: $16.00-$22.00

Technical Notes

Appellation: Dry Creek Valley
Varietal Content: 88% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petite Sirah

Alexander Valley Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

Description;

Alexander Valley Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon  was one of the first wines we produced in 1975 and three and a half decades  later it is still our flagship wine. From the beginning our Cabernet stood apart  from other California cabs because it was an elegant old world style wine.The climate in the southern end of the valley defines our Estate Cabernet  Sauvignon. Warm days during the growing season allow the grapes to ripen evenly  and develop flavor. The fog rolls in before sunrise each morning, lowering the  temperature; which cools the grapes and maintains the acidity. Our estate  vineyards are home to all five Bordeaux grapes, planted on the terraces, bench  lands and hillsides of our valley where the soil is predominately a gravelly  clay loam. Water from irrigation and precipitation drains away quickly, which  allows the vines to be stressed, leading to smaller grapes and lower yields with  more concentrated flavors. Each lot is picked, crushed and fermented separately  to maximize complexity. We barrel age for 14 months, then blend to create a  complex Cabernet Sauvignon that is enjoyable as soon as you pull the cork.2009: 90 points & Editors Choice Wine Enthusiast Price: $22.00

Appellation Alexander Valley
Grape Varietal 92% Cabernet Sauvignon – 4% Cabernet Franc – 2% Merlot – 1%  Malbec -1% Petit Verdot
Barrel Regimen Aged for 14 months in French and American oak, 25% new
Release Date May 2011

Thierry and Guy Fat bastard Chardonnay 2010

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Thierry and Guy Fat bastard Chardonnay 2010

This was almost my choice for last weeks Bastille Day 2012 considering its French origin.  A fact that many still do not realize, and I was even surprised to find out last year. Must be the funny name that throws some consumers off, although the french can be humorous, but no matter the reason as the wine maker Thierry himself states; this Chardonnay is a consumer favorite. 

Thierry and Guy get all the credit for developing what Fat bastard has become. They used no malolactic fermentation and the wine is aged on lees to give it “more structure and fruit forward style”. Only 35% is oaked therefore giving it I believe,  a more delicate yet still bold true Chardonnay taste. Those accustomed to oaky California Chardonnay’s may think they are drinking a completely different varietal. I prefer this style of winemaking when it comes to Chardonnay.

I remember friends of mine years ago referring to this wine mostly because of the character with the same name in the Austin Powers movies.  I quite honestly didn’t take the wine seriously [because of the name] but I also didn’t taste it. Fast forward to a couple of years ago when in a rush for a white wine I picked this one off the grocer shelf for a dinner party. It was a hit!  Since then I’ve had it a few times and recently it’s almost become a staple at my house. The fact that it is summer may have something to do with it but us red wine drinkers do have to go white every once in a while….

To craft the Fat bastard Chardonnay, grapes are sourced from all over the Languedoc-Roussillon, from the banks of the Rhone in the east to Carcassonne in the west, and from the foothills of the Massif Central in the north to the Mediterranean coast in the south. These different origins give the wine the balanced fruit flavor and acidity that have made it a consumer favorite.

I can see why this winemaker refers to their Chardonnay as a consumer favorite, I find it to be delicious and somewhat bold and delicate at once, the way I feel Chardonnay should be.  Therefore I am categorizing it as a perfect “go-to” wine. Usually priced in the $8.99-$9.99 range,  it is always reliable and a pleasure to drink!  I feel it is the perfect wine to drink during the week at home, to take to friends house and even as a gift. I’d also like to add that I think it tastes like a wine at a higher price point.

My tasting notes: Golden straw in color. Honeysuckle, melon and peach [tropical/tree fruit] on the nose with minerality as it warms. Also the flowery aroma expands as it breathes and or warms. On the palate much the same, with the peach flavor expanding over the others. I would classify this wine as having medium acidity levels and little to no wood influence on the nose and palate. It paired excellently with wild rice and pan grilled chicken.

Interestingly enough my mouth was watering as I typed the above description. I guess I know what I should be drinking tonight 🙂  ¡SALUD!

 Vintage Notes:

A cool spring led to difficult flowering, but the summer was mainly hot and dry so the wines have nice acidity and good body. Harvest was started much later than the previous year, and grapes were harvested at night to benefit from the cooler temperatures.

Maturation/Winemaking

The winemakers work very closely with the growers to determine the start of the harvest. The goal is to seek aromatic ripeness and rich varietal character.  Upon arrival at the winery, grapes immediately go through the crusher-stemmer. The juice is pressed pneumatically and refrigerated for 24 to 48 hours; it is then drawn off to start the fermentation with selected yeasts, at controlled temperatures.

Thierry’s Notes

It was a good thing I dressed in layers while monitoring the grapes for the 2010 vintage. A hot July and then a very cool August produced fruit that had perfect, high acidity while maintaining intense fruit flavors. The goal for me was to incorporate the fruit’s great flavor all the way from vine to bottle.

May 25th – National Wine Day

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Friday May 25th 2012 – National Wine Day

As if I needed another excuse to imbibe! I came across this interesting article referencing the occasion. It also provides some history along with information on how “days” like these are officially classified.

I hereby nominate everyday to be Wine Day! ¡Salud!

From article;

In 2011, America became the largest wine consuming nation by volume. More Americans are drinking wine, but our per capita consumption is still relatively low in comparison to other countries.

Careful what you wish for; I am officially now a Wine Steward.

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De Margerie Brut Grand Cru, Champagne, FranceCelebrating with: Champagne De Magerie A Bouzy Grand Cru

As some of you may have noticed, I have been a bit out of the loop the last couple of weeks. The short version as to why is as follows:

Soon after my recent WSET [Wine and Spirits Education Trust] certification through Johnson and Wales University I was contacted by the grocer Winn Dixie to discuss an opening within their organization for a Wine Steward.  Approximately four meetings later including a final interview by a renowned Sommelier Master [yes, I was intimidated] the job was offered and  I accepted. HOORAY.

My responsibilities will include managing the Miramar FL wine department, dealing with vendors/distributors, assisting customers, working with other departments for food pairings, scheduling tastings etc. I am typing this posting on my first day off in eight days of what can only be described as a GRAND OPENING whirlwind!  Winn Dixie operates in 9 states and employs 63,000 people [I find that number staggering]. Within the last couple of years a new business model was designed and has begun to be put into place. The new stores are truly beautiful with expanded higher-end produce, deli, seafood, bakery, prepared foods, and most importantly a WINE department in addition to meat carving, pasta and pizza stations. The response has been incredible and I cannot tell you the amount of times our guests compare the store to Whole Food Market.  Here is a recent local newspaper story on our local Grand Openings: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-05-07/business/fl-winn-dixie-davie-20120507_1_winn-dixie-and-bi-lo-randy-rambo-open-next-week

Careful what you wish for; I am officially now a Wine Steward.  My hobby is now my career and it will be interesting to see how this moves forward.  This is an incredible opportunity for me to begin the second half of my career,  and even though I wished it would, I never in a million years would have thought this was attainable.  Thank you to the powers that be, my Whine and Cheers for Wine supporters/followers [my new employer LOVED the blog!] and most importantly my family and better half who didn’t blink twice when I decided it was time for a career change. I am one lucky wine lover.

So, since this is a wine blog;  I wanted to include a blurb on what we drank to celebrate.  Champagne De Magerie A Bouzy Grand Cru [$35-40.00] had come highly recommended and we were not disappointed. This Grand Cru Champagne is considered to be Brut but I must add that although dry, the texture proved that the acidity level on the tongue was perfect. It was a sensation to behold and one I hope to experience again soon. SALUD!

Dry,  Cherry, Berry, Toast, Medium-bodied

94 PT Beverage Dynamics – Champagne, France– “Simply gorgeous! A crisp, clean blend of 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay from the famed Bouzy region. Pale gold in color, with a nose of red fruit, followed by a lively palate filled with pin-point bubbles that caress the palate into a long, refreshing finish.”

May 3rd Languedoc Day – My search is on!

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Vinyard nr Perpignan, Languedoc region, France...

Vinyard nr Perpignan, Languedoc region, France 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll be celebrating this weekend! Salud!

From YAHOO newswire;

Whole Foods Market & Forkly host a gift certificate giveaway in celebration of wines from Southern France’s Languedoc region
Denver, CO (PRWEB) April 30, 2012  During the month of May, Whole Foods Market and Forkly are joining wine aficionados across the US to celebrate Languedoc Day (May 3) and Chardonnay Day (May 24). The two companies are encouraging their customers and users to participate in the virtual celebrations with a giveaway of over fifteen Whole Foods gift certificates–and an even bigger gift to Forkly users (blog.forkly.com and 21+ only) who post and rate Languedoc wine on May 3 and Chardonnay wine on May 24.

These virtual holidays aim to build awareness of the incredible range of wines from Languedoc region of Southern France with tastings, social media interaction (being tracked on twitter with hash tags #LanguedocDay and #ChardDay), and this year, through Forkly.

Whole Foods Market and 1000corks.com both retail Languedoc wines and will make them easy to find on May 3—but even easier for Forkly users. Forkly, a free and popular iPhone app for global food and drink lovers, captures personal tastes—including wine tastes—and generates interaction around those tastes.

Bay Area sommelier Rick Bakas says: “The Languedoc (pronounced “long-dock”) produces many of the grape varieties you already know, including Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, and Mourvedre to name a few, as well as some you may not know like Piquepoul, Carignan, and Mauzac.”

He says of the celebration, “The appellations we’ll taste on May 3 blend these grapes into some of the most exciting wines coming out of France today. And many of the wines are very affordable with an average retail price of about $15.”

To participate, the public can: download the free Forkly app from the Apple store to learn about the Forkly and Whole Foods celebrations; register on the Languedoc Day eventbrite page (http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2350368014); and follow Whole Foods Market on Forkly to be entered for a gift certificate.

Here’s a description of the Languedoc region from LanguedocAdventure.com:

“The Languedoc, South of France, is France’s most dynamic wine region, where adventurous producers are redefining traditions and producing some of the country’s most exciting wines today. As the largest wine region in France, the Languedoc, South of France is blessed with some of the best terroir for winemaking in the country.  An auspicious blend of soil, wind, sun and the Mediterranean Sea produce naturally healthy vineyards and result in wines which wrap an enticing character in a voluptuously smooth mouthful. This is an area which has seen tremendous innovation, but which recognizes the gift of tradition and spirit of adventure. Languedoc produces a wealth of grape varieties, both indigenous and international, that flourish here along the Mediterranean coast.  The Languedoc includes over 20 AOCs and it is these wines which show Languedoc at its best. Join the adventure today and explore these wines!”

WSET Certification – Level I; It’s official!

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Johnson & Wales University

Johnson & Wales University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

It’s official!

I am a certified Whine-O…The adventure continues. Bring on Level II! And more wine of course 🙂

                              HAVING SATISFIED THE EXAMINERS

 IS HEREBY AWARDED THE
 
WSET LEVEL 1 AWARD IN WINES

PRESENTED FOR EXAMINATION BY

College of Culinary Arts, Johnson and Wales University

SEALED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE TRUSTEES

HANDS Cabernet Sauvignon – Robertson, South Africa

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HANDS Cabernet Sauvignon – Robertson, South Africa

This recent discovery could easily become a staple at our house due not only to its rich taste but also its incredible price point. HANDS can usually be found for a little less than $10.00. I’ve been lucky enough to find it priced as low as $8.99 at one of my favorite shops in Asheville NC; The Asheville Wine Market.  I have also found it in the $10-11.00 range at local wine stores in Florida.

Originally introduced to this lovely wine by a neighbor and friend I have gone out of my way to buy it when I come across it.  It is reliable and a great everyday wine. Even better it can be shared with others without any concern over its affordability. Having said that I will have to share this with my wine snobbier friends [ OK friend non-plural 🙂 ] and see if I can actually get them to accept the fact once and for all that there are good $10.00 wines out there to be had.

I was not able to find much information about this particular wine on-line. That said, it does come from the wine region of Robertson; a South African up and coming wine region once known for its thoroughbred horses and now credited with producing good quality well priced wines. Should you go shopping for this one in particular do not be confused with all the different “HANDS” out there; 2 Hands, 14 hands, Purple Hands etc….

Lets give HANDS a much deserved hand, SALUD!

My notes: sweet dark fruit (raspberry, blackberry, plum, cherry)  tobacco, cedar, leather, coffee, pepper, minerality, earthy, GREAT with dark chocolate!

Notes on-line: Intense, Currant, Full-bodied

South Africa produced in the Robertson Valley by Excelsior, this Cabernet offers bold, intense black currant and plum flavors framed with toasty oak. It finishes smoothly. Enjoy it with red meats and hearty dishes.