Jul 09 2014

2012 Gnarly Head Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Gnarly Head Cabernet Sauvignon

Varietal:  Cabernet Sauvignon
Region:  California – USA
Cost:  ~$14 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  Gnarly Head 2012 Cabrenet Sauvignon is King – big, gallang, and powerful. This dark, bold Cabernet has solid tannins and jammy fruit, with aromas of black cherry, blackberry, freshly-cracked black peppercorn, violet, and charred notes. On the palate, flavors of dense black fruit compote and currant followed by a trio of clove, spice, and earth, lead to a generous, lingering finish. Try pairing this Cabernet with grilled lamb skewers, strong cheeses, or a spaghetti bolognese.

My Review:  When I think of Gnarly Head, like most people I’m sure, I think of Zinfandel. I know in my mind that they make other things, but before this, had I been at the store and decided I wanted some affordable Zinfandel, Gnarly Head would have been near the top of my list.

Cabernet may have joined it.

I was really impressed by this wine. It went well with our dinner, it was enjoyable by itself, and it managed to avoid all the pit-falls that I usually associate with budget California Cabernet.

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Jul 08 2014

2012 Martin Codax Albarino

2012 Martin Codax Albarino

Varietal:  Albarino
Region:  Rías Baixas, Spain
Cost:  $15 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  Delicated and medium-bodied with a crisp, dry finish. Flavors of ripe apple, peach, pear, and lemon zest are framed by bright minerality and hints of spice. This Albarino displays intense floral aromas and an attractive acidity, making it a versatile, food-friendly wine. Pair with seasonsal shellfish and other seafood.

My Review:  My first real exposure to Albarino was several years ago at a tasting of Virginia Wines and my first thought was how much it reminded me of Virginia Viognier, and how much I liked that. Spanish wines were a big focus for me for a few years, though admittedly I focused on the reds, so I was happy to jump at the chance to try a new vintage of Albarino from Martin Codax when offered the opportunity.

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Jul 07 2014

June 2014 Virginia Wine Chat with Sunset Hills Vineyard

Sunset Hills Logo

During the last week of June I was lucky enough to participate in another Virginia Wine Chat, this time featuring a vineyard that I had recently visited while doing some tastings in Loudon county with my wife and parents – Sunset Hills Vineyard.

As usual we tasted three different wines, all while Frank Morgan of Drink What YOU Like interviewed the winemaker, this time Nate Walsh. I won’t go into all the details of the interview since you can see it in the video I’ve embedded just below, other than to say that Nate definitely has a vision for the wine he’s making, and I look forward to seeing that vision come to fruition.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Now, on to the wines.

Sunset Hills VA WIne Chat

The first wine that we tasted was a Rose’. There was a bit of confusion as some of us got the wine that was scheduled for the tasting, a 2013 Rose’ of Cabernet Franc, while others of us, myself included, got the 2013 Sunset Rose’, which I had actually tasted during my recent trip to the vineyard and liked enough to bring home a bottle of my own.

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Jul 01 2014

2012 Viama Rosso delle Venezie

2012 Viama Rosso

Varietal:  Indigenous grapes of the Delle Venezie
Region:  Delle Venezie, Italy
Cost:  $15 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  A rich bouquet of red berries and currant mingle with layered flavors of black cherry and red and black berries that lead to a long, stylish finish. Enjoy Viama with your favorite Italian fare, grilled meats, vegetarian entrees, and a selection of cheeses.

My Review:  Last week it was the Duca Pinot Grigio, this week it’s the Viama Rosso. While last week we saw a 3L box that was clearly meant to sit on a counter and be enjoyed at home, the packaging on this wine makes it clear that they intend for it to be taken with you and enjoyed with friends on the go.

The wine itself was enjoyable – medium dark in the glass with aromas of dark red berry and tart, black cherry notes in the mouth. I personally found the wine to be something of a one-noter, but it’s a note that would certainly pair well with pizza, burgers, or pasta, which in many ways is exactly what I want out of an Italian red.

The box itself provided me with some conflicts though.

On the one hand, I see what they’re trying to do with this box – create a boxed wine that doesn’t resemble a boxed wine. The triangular shape, the short strap, even the appearance of what looks like a zipper at first glance, is all done to make this box look like a woman’s purse.

And that’s totally fine. Except for one small problem.

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Jun 27 2014

2013 Duca del Frassino Pinot Grigio/Garganega

2013 Duca Pinot Grigio

Varietal:  Pinot Grigio & Garganega
Region:  Venezia, Italy
Cost:  $20 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  Charming with a bouquet of green apple, pear, and white flowers with delightful crisp flavors of apple and white pear that build on a long, lingering finish.

My Review:  Ah, boxed wine. You either love it or hate it. I’m in the former camp for the record. This time of year, I love to have a box of white wine sitting in my fridge, ready to grab a glass whenever I want without having to open an entire bottle – something nice and versatile that can go with a variety of foods or with nothing at all, all of which made the arrival of the Duca del Frassino Pinot Grigio/Garganega perfect.

The nice thing about sampling a box of wine is that I don’t have to pick one thing to pair it with, I can try a number of things over several days, in this case a variety of food that included cheese and crackers, grilled pork chops, and a pasta dish featuring shrimp and asparagus.

But enough about what I tried the wine with, you’re curious about the wine itself, as you should be. Alright, on to my thoughts about it.

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Jun 18 2014

2012 Bogle Vineyards Essential Red

2012 Bogle Vineyards Essential Red

Varietal:  Zinfandel; Syrah; Cabernet Sauvignon; Petite Sirah
Region:  California – USA
Cost:  $11 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:   A compelling blend of California’s finest plantings of Old Vine Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah, this wine surpasses all expectation for pure enjoyment and approachability. Calling on their years of experience and tradition, Bogle winemakers have delivered a wine with RICH, enticing layers of complexity, starting with that first irresistible sip. RIPE fruit, intense with flavors of boysenberries and sweet cherries. LUSCIOUS vanilla, caressing the palate from barrel aging in American and French oak. JUICY and silky throughout, with a finish that lingers of black licorice and spicy pipe tobacco.

My Review:  Another year, another vintage of the Bogle Vineyards Essential Red. The more I try different Bogle wines the more I find myself enjoying their good balance of budget-friendliness and approachable flavors. These are not amazing wines, not ones you’re going to stick in your cellar and see how they taste in a few years. They are, however, wines you’ll enjoy, are versatile, and are fine for sharing with friends.

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