Tag Archives: Sauvignon Blanc

Meeting Girard Winery’s Marco DiGiulio

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In-store tasting WFMNMIA

 

They had me at “Girard”.  Recently I was asked by a wine distributor if I’d have an interest in hosting a Meet the Winemaker event for our store, Whole Foods Market North Miami.  Said winemaker would be in town for other events and was interested in doing a tasting/bottle signing event. Since we’d done well with other similar events the offer was put on the table. It was true, we’d had great success in the recent past with winemakers in our store.  Our customers and team members truly enjoyed the one on one interaction and learning experience of these “Rock Star” wine moments.

 

Bottle Signing

 

So far so good, but the question was being put to me during the Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve trifecta of shopping and retail event madness.  My head was spinning. I recall I mustered the strength to ask “can you tell me who it is?” and the distributor replied Marco Digiulio of Girard Winery. I am sure the distributor went on with a short history of the winery and their wines. All I heard was “Girard“……

 

 

Artistry poured WhineCheersWine

Girard just happens to be the producer of one of my favorite wines: Artistry. A consistently excellent fruit rich yet earthy Napa red blend that I consider to be one of my special occasion go-to wines.  In fact when I was hired by Whole Foods as a Specialty Beverage Buyer and asked to list my top wines for the department you can bet Girard was on there. At the time I was able to bring in their Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Artistry. Presently, we also stock their Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. On my in-store wish list is the Petite Sirah, presently out of stock and the Old Vine Zinfandel which knocked my socks off.

 

Girard Tasting 2015

 

Whole Foods NMIA CalendarMeeting Marco, yes we are now on a first name basis although some refer to him as Girard’s “Chief Wine Overlord”, was a wonderful opportunity for me to taste and compare earlier, current and new vintages. It was also my first time trying the white wines of Girard. Wines I can now recommend to our customers as I tell them what style of wine-making went into these productions. Stories I picked up from Girard’s Chief Wine Overlord himself.  ¡SALUD!

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

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WF_GOpening

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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Hit or Miss? The Wall Street Journal Wine Club

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The Wall Street Journal Wine Club 

Two years into my membership I am  trying to decide whether to remain a member or invest my money on wines that I choose.   Wine clubs can be a great idea  for those with a lack of access to large varieties of vino and even those who would like to expand their horizons.  A site that reviews wine clubs including WSJ is the Wine Club Reviews and Ratings.

How the wine club works; after receiving a ridiculously inexpensive introductory case of wine, every quarter or so you receive a case [12 bottles] of reds, white or mixed depending on your preference.  The cost averages about $170.00 [U.S.] or about $15.00 per bottle for wines that are usually $12.00-$30.00 each. Other similar clubs include; Virgin and  Laithwaites.

I must admit that my first year I received wines that were very good to excellent but recently the choices have been very middle of the road to even disappointing.  Of course many factors could be at play here; bad choices by WSJ Wine Club, poor vintages, damaged product or just me and my taste buds. I must point out that WSJ will issue credit should you not be satisfied with any of their individual selections. But do you really want to be complaining on a regular basis? Maybe I have outgrown this club and its surprise element  preferring to discover wines on my own.  Could an official  Whine and Cheers for Wine Club be far off?  I say official because many of my friends are already receiving gifts, care packages and recommendations from my findings 🙂  It pays to have friends with wine benefits….

When I originally thought to write about my recent club experience it was to share all the selections I had been disappointed by: yes I had started a list.  But with the passing of time and the realization that we have enough negativity in our lives I have instead decided to share a couple of the recent delicious surprises I have imbibed thanks to the Wall Street Journal Wine Club: Domaine de Lognac Costieres de Nimes 2010 and the Schroeder Estate 2010 Pinot Noir from Patagonia Argentina. Both artfully done somehow with intense and yet delicate flavors representative of their individual varietal/blend.  I believe I may have one more bottle of the Domaine de Lognac in my cellar to enjoy again soon but the other Schroeder has somehow disappeared.  For those with access to these wines drink them now, I do not believe you will be disappointed.  ¡SALUD!

Schroeder Estate 2010 Pinot Noir

  • Country Argentina
  • Grape Pinot Noir
  • Type Still Red Wine
  • Appellation:Patagonia
  • Bottle size:75CL
  • Alcohol:14.5%
  • Units:10.875
  • Drink by:31/12/2015

The vineyards of Familia Schroeder sit in the valley of San Patricio del Chañar to the northwest of Neuquen province, at latitude 39° south.

The traits of the Patagonic terroir -stony soils, quality meltwater, a wide temperature range, frequent winds and low humidity- provide the ideal setting for an appropriate development of the vinestocks.

Endless blue skies guard 110 hectares of varieties such as Malbec, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet  Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

An absolutely delightful Pinot. Nice complex flavor,
The nose is earthy with a hint of tobacco (?), this wine is woody, yet fruity on the tongue and palette with notes of plum and blackberry, a smooth, almost sweet finish.

Domaine de Lognac Costieres de Nimes

Domaine de Lognac Costieres de Nimes 2010

Nicolas Bacqué (of the acclaimed Domaine de Lognac) made the most of the Rhône’s stellar 2010 vintage — and judges at the prestigious Concours des Vins du Gard 2011 agreed — they gave his opulent Costières de Nîems a silver medal.

Usually it’s plush, red-fruited Grenache that’s the star in the south. But here, it’s dark and spicy Syrah taking center stage — it makes up 70% of the blend. Nicolas then added the Grenache (20%), followed by a dash (10%) of juicy Carignan.

Look for a fragrant nose, with notes of red fruit and wild berries such as blackberry and a signature, spicy herb (garrigue) character. More of the same on the palate, followed by a long, smooth finish.

2011 Cupcake Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough New Zealand

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2011 Cupcake Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc

This  Pacific Rim Wine Competition 2012 SILVER MEDAL winner has been in my sights for quite some time.  Cupcake Vineyard wines are hard to avoid in my world as a Wine Steward for a national grocery store chain and now as a liquor store manager [albeit temporary]  for the same company.  The masses like their Cupcake; be it red’s such as Malbec, Pinot Noir, Petite Syrah or their Red Velvet blend in addition to whites such as the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio etc.   According to the winemaker; all made in a “fruit forward” style since being introduced in 2008. For more information  check out their web-site: http://www.cupcakevineyards.com

The Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc in particular was recently brought to my attention by New Jersey cousins who, it sounds to me,  have made this their house white and I can see why.  Cork finally popped I discovered what everyone else already seems to know. Good tasting wine at a good price. Our store  has it in the $10.00 range with holiday sales bringing it as low as $7.99.  It is also available at  retailers such as Costco, Total Wine etc.  Making it a perfect [Holiday] party serving choice. No wonder this wine is as popular as it is.

I detected very crisp aromas of; pineapple, citrus, green apple and stone fruits on the nose. On the palate I noted; grapefruit! [yes with an exclamation mark], Meyer lemon, tropical white fruits and cantaloupe, but unripe/green.

This is a dry medium body white with good acidity levels lingering on the tongue and a tart finish.  If this wine tasted as good as it did with pizza I can only imagine how nicely it would pair with, well, actually something that it should be paired with 🙂  ¡SALUD!

Cupcake Vineyards Tasting Notes:

It’s the long cool seasons in the South Island that allow our Sauvignon Blanc grapes to mature slowly, giving them levels of complexity and a vibrant zing. This wine is reminiscent of a lemon chiffon cupcake. It’s made up of integrated favors of Meyer lemons, Key limes and a finish that awakens the appetite.

Wine Searcher – Marlborough wine region

New Zealand‘s largest wine region in production and area, Marlborough is located at the north-eastern tip of the South Island. It stretches from the small port town of Picton in the Marlborough Sounds to the east-coast town of Kaikoura. The long, straightWairau Valley has the most extensive plantings of vines, and the entire region had 58,300 acres (23,600ha) of land planted with grapes in 2010. This young wine region has won worldwide acclaim for its Sauvignon Blanc.

Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine grape variety from western France which is now successfully grown in emerging and established wine regions all over the world. While the grape may be more readily associated with the Loire Valley (for its pivotal role in Sancerreand Pouilly-Fume), it is more likely to have originated from Bordeaux, where it is typically blended withSemillon.

HARK – The Holidays Approacheth!!

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Happy Holidays

With that statement from a friendly customer a few days ago I knew it was here. As it quickly approaches the holiday season is once again sneaking up on us. From dead of summer to Halloween POW! it’s time for; Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day and New Years Eve just to name a few.

Recently I was asked to act as Interim Store Director for our Winn Dixie liquor store; thus begins my first holiday season in retail. Fortunately sales of wine and spirits are through the roof with daily sales increases in the high double and even triple digits compared to last year. Thank you wine buyers!

With the holidays upon us and family parties to help plan and take part in I have given a lot of thought to what wines to bring, gift, recommend and most importantly partake of. Luckily 2012 has exposed me to many good wines,  most of them affordable and easily accessible.  So upon much review I hereby offer what I hope will be a list of good value very drinkable wines that I have discovered throughout the year. Wines  meant to be shared with family and friends.  My official:   2012  Whine and Cheers for Wine Holiday List. For additional information on each just click on the links provided below.

Old Vine Zinfandel– After many tastings this year of this varietal, and I might add not really a stinker in the bunch, I ended up with an almost tie between Project Paso and Four Vines. The winner, FourVines which I have now had about three times in the last month. For the value it cannot be beat. Usually priced in the $12.00 range it can be found on sale now for $7-10.00.

Pinot Noir– Again it came down to two: Chile’s The Show and California’s Concannon. The winner is the Concannon 2010 Selected Vineyards Pinot Noir. Price range: $8-12.00.

Red Blend I lucked out with blends this year and the two that automatically come to mind would be; Argentina’s Amado Sur [$11-13.00] by Trivento and the Dream Tree Crush by rocker Dave Matthews and Steve Reeder [$15-18.00].  If you are looking for a bolder taste I’d choose the Malbec, Bonarda, Syrah blended Amado Sur. For smooth and light I’d suggest the Dream Tree Crush.

Côtes-du-Rhône-   LES HALOS DE JUPITER 2009.  A mostly Grenache Rhone that yes even goes excellently with corned beef. Price range; under $15.00.

White Bordeaux/Sauvignon Blanc- Chateau Montet at $8.99 vs. Chateau Tour de Bonnet Blanc $14.99. Both very good wines and values. That said if I were having a holiday party serving a large group; my “go to” wine would be the Chateau Montet. Everyone will be pleased.

Champagne/Sparkling Wine  One choice automatically jumps to the forefront: Champagne De Magerie A Bouzy Grand Cru [$35-40.00].  At this price, for me at least, it is not an everyday wine but a great special occasion choice.  Domaine Ste. Michelle [$15.00] has been our house sparkler for years but since I am writing about 2012 discoveries Piper Sonoma Sparkling Brut at $12.99 gets my vote.

Riesling- Chateau Ste. Michelle out of Washington State can do no wrong by me with their many worthy wines. Their Riesling and Sweet Harvest Riesling [$10.00] are affordable, dependable good wines. An easy choice. A new discovery for me this year was the Dr Loosen “Dr. L” Riesling. At $11.99 also delicious and dependable.

Merlot Gordon Brothers Family Vineyards from Washington State’s Columbia Valley is my clear winner. Their 2007 vintage was so memorable that 8 months later I am still thinking about it.  Priced in the $18-22.00 range it is worthy of the investment.

Malbec- For me all roads lead to Argentina’s LAMADRID. From their baseline Malbec [$10.00] to the RESERVE [$18.00] to their GRAN RESERVE [$28-35.00], which I recently finally tried after sitting on the bottle for 2 years, all are worthy.  Beautiful wines of which I wholeheartedly approve for vintages; 2008, 2009, 2010.

Chardonnay Over the summer I discovered a delicious Chardonnay; Hess Select from California’s Monterey region [$8-15.00]. More recently we have enjoyed Sonoma County’s Sebastiani [$8-12.00]. Both are rich and very well-balanced. For a non-California style Chardonnay [i.e. little or no wood] I suggest Fat Bastard  [$7-12.00] out of France.  Sourced from all over the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Those accustomed to oaky California Chardonnay’s may think they are drinking a completely different varietal. It is smooth yet  dry.

Cabernet Sauvignon- This category for me turned out to be the most varied in pricing. We lucked out; great Cab’s ranging from $10.00 to over $50.00. In the lower priced range Cycles Gladiator was a great find. One that our store now easily goes through a case a week.  In the mid-$20.00 range Sonoma’s  Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve was a wonderful treat, also one I’d like to revisit.  And at the higher end of the spectrum the delicious and exciting Stag’s Leap Artemis comes to mind; complex, full-bodied and powerful.

Sauternes- To complete our holiday meal or any special occasion I always think of Sauternes,  although you can also enjoy this sweet french wine at the start of your evening as an apéritif.  Our 2012 discovery was the 2008 Chateau Doisy-Védrines. Not inexpensive at $30.00 for a 375ml [half] bottle, but it is always worthy of a special occasion shared with worthy family and friends.

Here we are at the end of our first ever 2012  Whine and Cheers for Wine Holiday List. As 2012 starts to wind down I’d like to take this opportunity to be thankful. Very thankful to all my supporters and followers, some that I have had the honor of communicating with and getting to know throughout the year.  All your visits and comments have meant the world to me. Thanks to all of you,  2012 will always be my year of  Whine and Cheers for Wine! 

Thank you!

Happy Holidays

and  ¡SALUD!

 

Bastille Day Wine – July 14th Celebrating La Fête Nationale with Chateau’s; Montet and Bonnet

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July 14th the annual La Fête Nationale celebration in France or Bastille Day as it is mostly known in English-speaking countries is upon us once again.  I now know that the Tour de France should have been a sign since it is always scheduled to correspond with this celebratory occasion.  Better yet,  I/we have another holiday to drink wine to. This may not be a “wine” holiday for most but the French are famous for their brew so…..I say let’s drink some French wine and since we are amidst the Summer season with heat records being broken every which way,  I will be drinking and writing about two French white wines.  Both these wines caught my attention last year while attending a Bordeaux class and a Sauvignon class. I’ve enjoyed them regularly since and if I may add, both would easily be my own Chateau wine if I wasn’t always out there looking for my next possible Chateau wine.

Should you be interested in more facts/myths about Bastille Day check out this fellow WordPress site I came across and found quite entertaining: http://irishherault.wordpress.com/2009/07/14/bastille-facts-myths/

Chateau Montet was discovered first [in a Bordeaux class] and I have since enjoyed their 2009 and 2010 vintages. Even more so I love the price! So much so that I bought a case the first time we crossed paths. The retail price is $8.99 but I was able to get it closer to $7.00 thanks to a sale and an additional 10% discount for the case at Total Wine and More.  I dare say this is the perfect under $10.00 wine for White Bordeaux [Sauvignon Blanc] wine lovers out there.  The wine comes from the area known as Entre-Deux-Mers, famous for its dry white wines and I can see why. We paired it with various cheeses but I can see it pairing wonderfully with seafood and lighter fare.  Noted on the nose and palate were citrus [grapefruit], pear, grass and a very appealing minerality. A pale greenish-yellow in color with light to medium body.  Again, this could easily be my “go to” dry white wine.  Should you be interested in reading another review of the Chateau Montet check out the following White Sauvignon Review link; http://whitesauvignon.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/hello-world/

Chateau Tour de Bonnet Blanc I was lucky enough to discover in a Sauvignon class. It also comes from the appellation of Entre-deux-Mers and is produced by; André LurtonChateau Bonnet is located in his home village of Grezillac in the north of the Entre-deux-Mers appellation and has been under his control since 1956.

The Chateau Bonnet White Bordeaux is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle fermented in 100% stainless steel. It is pale straw in color with a very inviting bouquet. Its taste intensity is ample with a crisp style. This wine starts with classic fruit and flower aromas with an underlying minerality.  On the palate notes of apple, grapefruit, grass and minerals were detected. I also noted fig and or guava. The sweetness was dry with acidity low on this light bodied wine with a lengthy finish.  The Chateau Bonnet retails for $14.99 and is a great choice to serve as an aperitif with cheeses or with lighter meals. Its taste is distinctive and somewhat comforting. I know that may sound crazy to some but as I have written before some wines just make me feel cozy. I would add this one to the list!

So, as I end this French themed post celebrating the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic, during the French Revolution I/we at least have one more excuse to drink and appreciate good wine.  Happy Bastille day,  ¡SALUD! or more appropriately  Á votre santé!

Wine 101 – Revisited

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The Gourmet Bachelor by Chad Carns

The Gourmet Bachelor by Chad Carns (Photo credit: somenametoforget)

Every once in a while I like to review notes I have jotted down, articles I’ve saved, passages in books I have highlighted etc. As I move forward with my blog, my hobby [lot’s of wine drinking!] and now career [I will sell wine today!],  I must remind myself to do so on a regular basis. It is amazing how easily one becomes focused on one aspect of the bigger picture and  forgets the details that may have crossed your path or got you to where you are today.

Writing this I just had a flashback to my college days of yore; cramming at the last-minute and soon afterwards forgetting everything I learned.  History will not repeat itself no matter that I probably have way fewer memory cells now compared to then 🙂

Wine 101 refers to one of my earlier posts; What I learned in wine class this week-Wine 101. In it I asked the question:  If a bad or turned wine with a cork closure is referred to as CORKED would a turned wine with a screw cap be classified as SCREWED?  I  also listed tidbits of information I found interesting or am purposely keeping as a reference for future use.

https://whineandcheersforwine.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/what-i-learned-in-wine-class-this-week-wine-101/

Here begins my next chapter and I look forward to coming across even more to share in the future.  ¡SALUD!

Aroma is derived from the grape. Bouquet comes from fermentation, wood [oak], aging.

Chardonnay and Riesling; white wines that can age.

Chardonnay is a component of; Champagne, Burgundy and Chablis.

Chianti; is Sangiovese blended with other indigenous varietals.

-Wine most sold in U.S.A. = White Zinfandel ARGH!

-When in doubt: Beaujolais goes with practically everything.

Rosé wine is not sweet.

Sauvignon Blanc is used in Sancere, Pouilly Fume’, and blended with Semillon for almost all white Bordeaux’s.

-Sweet Sauternes are mostly Semillon with a bit of Sauvignon Blanc.

-Most planted grape in California prior to Chardonnay; Chenin Blanc.

Chenin Blanc = Vouvray. Also the leading white grape of South Africa.

Viogner is one of the rarest french white grapes. Less than +/- 300 acres are planted in the grapes home; northern Rhone.

Merlot often confused as Cabernet Sauvignon during blind tastings.  Merlot is the leading grape varietal produced in Bordeaux. Chateau Pétrus one of worlds most famous wine is 99% Merlot.

Burgundy, except for Beaujolais is mostly made from Pinot Noir.

-The Gamay grape is the source of french wine Beaujolais.

Syrah is usually part of the blend making Chateauneuf-de-Pape which can use up to 12-13 different varieties.

Tempranillo grows in the Rioja region of Spain. In Portugal Tempranillo known as Tinto Roriz  is one of the grapes making up Port/Porto.