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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Mar 18 2015

2012 Le Petit Coquerel Sauvignon Blanc

2012 Le Petit Coquerel Sauvignon Blanc

Varietal:  100% Sauvignon Blanc
Region:  Napa, California – USA
Cost:  $20-$22 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  The 2012 Le Petit Coquerel is a pure expression of Sauvignon Blanc. It has a nose of gooseberry and grapefruit. The wine mouth feel is crisp and bright with a creamy round mid palate followed by a long finish of exotic fruit, lychee, and papaya. The wine is delicious to enjoy alone or with light fare such as seafood, sushi, mild cheeses, or any Asian cuisine.

My Review:  I don’t know how the weather has been where you are, but here in the Easter portion of North Carolina, the weather has, for the most part, been absolutely beautiful. Warm, sunny, and perfect for sitting outside with a glass of wine – which is exactly what I did this past weekend with some of the 2012 Le Petit Coquerel Sauvignon Blanc.

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Mar 06 2015

2012 Arge & Tina Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Arge & Tina Cabernet Sauvignon

Varietal:  Cabernet Sauvignon
Region:  Argentina
Cost:  $10

Winemaker’s Notes:  Arge & Tina Cabernet Sauvignon has a tomato and herbal aroma. It’s somewhat green and sweet, with a raw feel and tannic bite. Tastes of tomato and herbal red plum. Feels light on the finish. Pair with red meats, pasta, and hearty stews.

My Review:  So, cards on the table – I totally bought this wine because the name made me laugh. Well, that’s mostly true. I was buying steak for dinner and, while I had some wine at home, I thought I would see what else was available at my local The Fresh Market. While we didn’t end up drinking this wine with dinner, it certainly would have gone with it, and like I said…the name made me laugh.

In the glass the wine was a nice dark red color – somewhat brick-ish with just a touch or purple streaking through. On the nose I picked up notes of herb, while in the mouth the wine was dry, the herb from the nose continuing through and being joined by dark plum notes and a hint of tomato that I for one never picked up on the nose.

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Feb 20 2015

February 2015 VA Wine Chat – Rappahannock Cellars

VA Wine Chat Rappahannock Cellars

It’s a new year (ok, it’s February), and this month we had our first Virginia Wine Chat of 2015. Frank Morgan of Drink What YOU Like was at Rapphannock Cellars with owner John Delmar and winemaker Theo Smith to try some of their wines, pick their brains on both their vineyard and the larger Virginia wind industry, and to continue his efforts to expose the entirety of the world to Virginia wine. Keep up the good work Frank.

As usual, you can find the video of the Chat embedded below, but first, a few notes about Rappahannock Cellars and then we’ll ge to my thoughts on the wines.

I’ve never had the chance to actually visit Rappahannock Cellars, but I have tried some of their wines at different wine expos and industry events. Rappahannock was begun in 1998 and opened to the public in 2001. They make about 10,000 cases per year, and have 26 different wines they make, 8 of which are typically found in their tasting room and are what they consider their “work horse” wines.

You can find Rapphannock Cellars in Huntley, Virginia, which is located just about an hour outside of Washington DC, and based on the wines I got to try last Thursday, I highly recommend a visit. Now, about those wines….

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Feb 10 2015

2013 Casillero del Diablo Devil’s Collection Red

2013 Devil's Collection Red

Varietal:  Carmenere; Cabernet Sauvignon; Syrah
Region:  Rapel Valley, Chile
Cost:  $15 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  This bold, bright blend of Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah from Chile’s Rapel Valley energizes with flavors of dark ripe fruit, plum, black cherry and a sinful hint of dark chocolate.

My Review:  I rather enjoyed the 2013 Devil’s Collection White, so I was looking forward to the 2013 Devil’s Collection Red as well. I won’t go so far as to say that it disappointed – it’s still a good wine, especially at the price point, but I think I wanted something other than what I got.

Let me explain.

I enjoy Chilean red, Carmenere in particular. I like the flavor of green pepper that some consider a flaw in the wine. Because of that I was disappointed that for all of it being listed first, and that presumably meaning that Carmenere was the most dominant grape in this blend, I didn’t really get “Carmenere” when sipping on this wine. In fact, the Cabernet and Syrah were definitely far more dominant for me.

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Feb 09 2015

2013 Casillero del Diablo Devil’s Collection White

2013 Devil's Collection White

Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc; Chardonnay; Gewurztraminer
Region:  Casablanca Valley, Chile
Cost:  $15 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  This dazzling lemon-yellow proprietary blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Gewurztraminer from Chile’s Casablanca Valley is youthful, seductive, and fresh, fresh, fresh from start to finish. Light yet luscious, the wine entices with aromas and flavors of pineapple, citrus, peach and a hint of honeysuckle.

My Review: Well, after a brief hiatus to decompress (and move to another state), I’m back to sharing my thoughts on wines, and I kick off 2015 with a white wine from one of my favorite white wine countries – Chile.

I’ve had wine from Concha y Toro several times, and, depending on the wine, it’s been a mixed bag for me, so I was interested when I was approached about a new line they were launching under their Casillero del Diablo name – the Devil’s Collection.

I started out with the 2013 White, which was a light yellow in the glass, and showed aromas and flavors of pineapple and peach to me, with some honeysuckle coming through as the wine opened up. Of the three grapes in the wine, the Sauvignon Blanc and the Gewurztraminer definitely shined through for me, and to be honest, if not for having tasting notes claiming there was Chardonnay in there, I don’t know that I would have picked it out. Without having the actual percentages of each grape used it’s hard to know if that is intentional, or if I just didn’t pick it out from the more acidic grapes.

My wife and I paired the wine with a dinner of breaded tilapia and pesto risotto, with the crispness of the wine doing a nice job of balancing the breading and the creaminess of the risotto.

For $15 I’d definitely grab another bottle of this wine again – it’s a nice, approachable white that I think would be more than serviceable as a selection for parties since I think the flavors will appeal to a fairly wide range of white wine drinkers – pretty much anybody other than those looking for a creamy, oaked Chardonnay to be honest.

One I’d recommend to a friend, and certainly one I’ll keep in mind as the weather turns warm and I begin my annual stock-up of crisp whites to enjoy in the heat.

Editor’s Note: I received this wine as a free sample for review.

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