Apr 20 2015

Salton Intenso Sparkling Brut

Salton Intenso Sparkling Brut

Varietal:  70% Chardonnay; 30% Riesling
Region:  Brazil
Cost:  ~$15-17 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  Made in the charmat method, the Salton Intenso Brut is a blend of Chardonnay and Riesling. On the nose: citrus fruits and green apple. On the palate: a fresh creamy flavor with tropical fruit, melon, pineapple and wet stone.

My Review:  So, cards on the table – we like sparkling wine (or “bubbles” if you prefer) in my house. We don’t reserve them for special occasions, often opening them as an evening sipper and pairing them with our meals the way we would any other bottle of wine.

I say these things because I want you to understand why the review of this wine doesn’t focus on some special event in my wife and my lives, or why we didn’t pair the wine with some spectacular meal that truly deserved a special wine. Sparkling wine is wine just like any other bottle, and deserves the same treatment – regular openings and enjoyment with friends and family.

Ok…on to my thoughts on this bottle.

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Apr 14 2015

Two Lands Digital Tasting

Two Lands Digital Tasting

All of the online tastings that I’m privileged to participate in have reminded me of one thing – technology has opened up the doors for sharing and enjoying wine. Thanks technology.

Most recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a Digital Tasting of the new Two Lands line of wines from Jacob’s Creek, their new line of wines that’s bringing a California Expression to Australia. This tasting included four wines (Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz), as well as interactions with the wine maker and other wine writers via web cam and microphone (I stuck to typing as I wasn’t alone in the tasting and didn’t want to overwhelm the feed).

I have to admit that the webcam/microphone interaction among those of us doing the tasting was a new experience, and while I think it could be easy to get overwhelmed by it, I really liked the attempt to make us more than just text on a screen.

But, as with all things on this blog, it really comes down to the wines. A few quick notes so I don’t have to mention it over and over again. All of the wines are from South Australia, and all of them are priced at $14 SRP.

So, what did I think?

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Apr 10 2015

Salton Classic Tannat 2013 Reserva Especial

2012 Salton Intenso Tannat

Varietal:  100% Tannat
Region:  Brazil
Cost:  $13-15 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  On the nose, this wine has ripe black fruit, spices, mint and earthy notes. On the palate: strawberry, mint and dark cherry.

My Review:  I’ve had relatively few wines from Brazil, not because I haven’t enjoyed the ones that I’ve tried, but because I just haven’t – not everything has to have a deeper meaning or reason. I have, however, had plenty of wines from South America, so when offered the chance to try something new from Brazil, I jumped at it.

While I like Tannat, I’ll admit it’s not a grape that I drink a lot of. This mostly has to do with most producers in Virginia, where until recently I lived, using it mostly as a blending grape, and not as a single varietal bottling.

The 2012 Salton Intenso Tannat was dark in the glass, and on the nose I didn’t get much in the way of aromas. Even after letting the bottle open for a while I mostly got dark fruit and some earth notes. In the mouth the wine was light and bright, showing flavors of strawberry and cherry, both of which lead to a nice smooth finish.

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Apr 09 2015

Measuring Wine Quality

CAB Collective

So it’s rare that I share any of the myriad of press releases that come through my inbox on any given day. It’s not that they aren’t well-crafted, or even interesting (to the right crowd), it’s that the headlines are just so…promotional.

I know, they’re press releases and they’re supposed to share news, which often means promoting something. I don’t begrudge them that, it’s just not something I spend a lot of time on my blog sharing, preferring instead to share my thoughts on specific wines.

This one, however, caught my eye, because it touched on a pet peeve of mine in wine, as well as appealed to my day job sensibilities.

I’ve mentioned, at great length in fact, my distaste for the 100 point wine rating system that was popularized by Robert Parker. My reasoning boils down to by loathing of the application of an objective rating system like numbers to something that is, at least to me, very subjective. That’s why I share my thoughts on wine by saying what flavors and aromas I got, how it paired with my dinner, and whether I’d buy it again. That’s why this piece appealed to my blogger side.

In my day job I run my own digital agency. My focus is on Content Strategy and Search Marketing, both with a very data-driven approach. I try to measure everything, holding both myself, and other marketing efforts, accountable, as well as taking a lot of the guess work out of what the next steps should be – we have the numbers, what do they tell us?

So what was this press release that so appealed to me? The headline was Can Wine Quality Really Be Measured? – in other words, can we actually apply some objectiveness to wine?

This is really all part of the CABs of Distinction event in Paso Robles early next month, a trade and media event that, if anybody is attending (I am not), I’d love to get your feedback on. Specifically, there’s a panel discussion about the measurement of phenols in wine, and how measuring them could offer up a more objective way of measuring the quality of wine.

Seriously, if anybody is going and wants to do a guest post (which I also rarely allow), hit me up and we can talk.

Also, if anybody has thoughts on the idea of being able to measure the quality of wine through science, which I think my wife would love, I’d like to hear those as well.

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Mar 30 2015

March 2015 Virginia Wine Chat – Breaux Vineyards

VA Wine Chat w/ Breaux Vineyards

The Evening’s Lineup

It’s that time again, time for the monthly Virginia Wine Chat, hosted by Frank Morgan of Drink What YOU Like. It’s always a favorite. This month Frank traveled up to Loudon County to Breaux Vineyards where he visited with Jennifer Breaux, daughter of the owner and the Sales Director, and Heather Munden, the winemaker of Breaux.

For those of you unfamiliar with Breaux I have to say that it’s a vineyard that never ceases to impress me, and is always on a list of places I recommend when listing off places not just in Loudon County, but in Virginia as a whole – definitely not a place you’ll regret stopping into.

On top of their gorgeous facilities, they also make some pretty amazing wine. This month we got to try three different reds while Frank chatted with and fielded questions posed by those watching the live stream and following along on Twitter (#VAWineChat). The video is embedded below, but first up, my thoughts on the three wines we tried.

2013 Marquis de LaFayette – $32

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Mar 26 2015

2012 Paso Creek Merlot

2012 Paso Creek Merlot

Varietal:  80% Merlot, 10% Petite Sirah, 6% Malbec, 4% Petite Verdot
Region:  Paso Robles, CA – USA
Cost:  $14

Winemaker’s Notes:  Dark crimson in color, with cigar box aromas infused with generous sweet vanilla oak. Bold flavors of blackberries, cherries, currants, and spice complimented by sturdy tannins and balanced acidity, all leading to a rich, long finish.

My Review:  Last night my wife was out with work friends, which meant that since it was a gorgeous day outside, I was determined to fire up the grill. A run across the street to my local The Fresh Market produced steak (a ribeye), a potato for baking, and a bottle of wine that I’d never tried before, but can promise to buy again.

In the glass the 2012 Paso Creek Merlot was a dark red, and on the nose I picked up cedar and tobacco notes. In the mouth the wine was dry, with flavors of dark cherry and leather with good balanced acid and enough tannins on the finish to get my attention without overwhelming me.

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