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….

2014 Rappahannock Cellars Viognier – $34 Continue Reading Ľ

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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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Jan 15 2015

Pardon the Interruption

Published by under Wine Reviews

Moving Van

So I’m taking a brief (very brief) hiatus from the blog. Why you ask? Because my wife and I are in the middle of relocating from Richmond, Virginia to Greenville, North Carolina and, to be honest, I just don’t have the time to keep up with selling one house, buying another, and moving. Also, most of my wine supplies are all packed up (not all…just most).

I’ll be back around the start of February so don’t worry that I’ve decided to walk away from the site.

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Dec 30 2014

2012 McIntyre Vineyards Estate Chardonnay

2012 McIntyre Vineyards Estate Chardonnay

Varietal:  100% Chardonnay
Region:  Santa Lucia Highlands, California РUSA
Cost:  $28 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes: ¬†Pale gold in the glass, like warm autumn sunshine, this wine embodies the essence of the Santa Lucia Highlands with its aromas of baked golden apples, ripe pears, butterscotch, and lemon cream pie. In the mouth, it has ample minerality, persistently pleasant acidity, and delightful flavors of lemon bars, pear creme brulee, pineapple-carrot cake, and lemon meringue pie. Finishes with lively intensity, leaving a pleasant hazelnuttiness in its wake.

My Review: ¬†If you’ve read more than a handful of my reviews, you know that Chardonnay is a hot topic in my house. Not because I don’t enjoy it, quite the opposite in fact, but because of my wife’s preferences in the grape. For years she thought she just flat out didn’t like – an acceptale response as I don’t expect every person to like every type of wine. It turns out, however, that it’s not that she doesn’t like Chardonnay, only that she doesn’t like Oaked Chardonnay – which of course the 2012 McIntyre Vineyards Estate Chardonnay is; aged in new Siruge French oak barrels for 8 months.

With that fact in front of me, I picked a time when my wife wouldn’t be in a position to have to sip on the wine – the weekend we returned home from the Christmas holiday and got back into the swing of packing up our house for our impending move. Wine was definitely necessary.

Continue Reading Ľ

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Dec 18 2014

2012 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon

Varietal:  80% Cabernet Sauvignon; 16% Merlot; 2% Cabernet Franc; 2% Petit Verdot
Region:  Napa Valley, CA РUSA
Cost:  $50 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Note: ¬†Lush and smooth with a deep ruby red color and aromas of black cherry, red plum, and sandalwood that lift out of the glass. The wine has an inviting rich entry with a velvety texture and captivating notes of cassis, cocoa, and ripe wild berries. The complex flavors continue to unfold into a long rewarding finish. The 2012 is ready to drink upon release but will continue to develop and age gracefully over six to eight years.

My Review: ¬†Back in April I got a chance to try the 2011 Faust. Now we’re on the the 2012, and I have to say, they are continuing with the excellence in wine, even with a slight change to the formula in what was already a really good wine.

In the glass the wine was deep red and on the nose I picked up dark cherry and sandalwood that were only enhanced the more time the wine spent in the decanter and the glass. In the mouth the wine was smooth and full-bodied, with great notes of ripe berries and cocoa that lingered just the right amount. Continue Reading Ľ

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