Oct 23 2014

2013 Handcraft Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Handcraft Cabernet Sauvignon

Varietal:  Cabernet Sauvignon; Sangiovese
Region:  California – USA
Cost:  $13 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  Robust aromas of black cherry, black peppercorn, and violet greet your nose. The layers of flavor that follow are nothing short of fantastic with hints of black fruit compote, clove, spice, and black currant. This full bodied wine is rich and robust with bold tannins that lead to a long and generous finish.

My Review:  Handcraft falls into a weird area for me – they’re working within the area of budget wines, but the quality floats somewhere above and below the price point. Take the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, it is, at its essence, a generic California Cabernet that’s had a little Sangiovese thrown in to the mix to spice it up. But it manages to elevate itself ever so slightly above the herd.

The wine is, as you would expect, a dark color in the glass, and on the nose I picked up black cherry moreso than anything else. In the mouth the wine was fairly smooth, with a medium mody leaning towards the full side (though I wouldn’t call it full bodied personally), and fruit-forward notes of black currant with some spice and clove towards the finish.

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Oct 20 2014

2011 Wildhaven Blazing Red

2011 Wildhaven Blazing Red

Varietal: Merlot
Region:  Columbia Valley, Washington – USA
Cost:  $11-$14

Winemaker’s Notes:  True to its nose, robust flavors of berry cobbler and black cherries swirl with notes of mocha and deep spice, punctuated by medium-firm tannins on the finish.

My Review:  If you’ve ever been to a Total Wine (and let’s be honest, love them or hate them, you’ve been to one), you know that they regularly have tastings of wines that they’re either promoting, have been asked to promote, or, as I sometimes suspect, that they’re just trying to get rid of.

That’s not to say that all of these wines are bad, or that you can’t get a good value on them – coupons are typically offered on tasting wines. During a run to grab beer for backyard projects, I took the time to run through a tasting of several red and white wines that had found their way onto a table with some of those aforementioned coupons.

Several stood out (two came home with me), and I recently opened up the 2011 Wildhaven Blazing Red to pair with some dinner…and to share with my wife that wasn’t with me and didn’t get to taste the wines.

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Oct 14 2014

2013 Handcraft Chardonnay

2013 Handcraft Chardonnay

Varietal:  Chardonnay with a dash of Malvasia Bianca and other aromatic whites
Region:  California – USA
Cost:  $13 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  Pour a glass and enjoy the lovely floral and honey aromatics with soft hints of lemon zest, green apple, and toasty oak. Then savor a sip as you taste bright citrus, peach, honey, pear, and creamy marshmallow flavors. This medium-bodied wine is balanced with good acidity – making it refreshing by itself or perfect with food. The rich and juicy finish provides the perfect end to this delightful wine.

My Review:  I’ve had the chance to try Handcraft Wines before and found them to be…middling. They’re a great Tuesday-night wine – middling, affordable, and nothing to really complain about…or brag about. Recently a few more bottles of their newer vintage showed up at my house, and while I applaud the causes that Handcraft gives to (this time around it’s Breast Cancer), at the end of the day, I’m here to share my thoughts on the wine, so let’s jump in.

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Oct 06 2014

September 2014 Virginia Wine Chat

September 2014 VA Wine Chat

The Tasting Selection

After some time off for the Summer, it’s great to see Virginia Wine Chat has returned. On the last Saturday of September we sat down and did our usual virtual tasting with Frank Morgan (Drink What YOU Like) and some Virginia winemakers as we tried wines, shared our thoughts, and got to see what was, at least in my opinion, one of the best discussions we’ve had during the series (at least that I’ve been a part of).

Unlike in previous months, September saw us trying wines from three different Vineyards – Veritas, Grace Estate, and King Family. The video stream is embedded below, and I highly recommend checking it out – it really was a great discussion about wine, Virginia, and how the two meet.

But, as always, let’s talk about the wines.

2013 Veritas Viognier – $24 (SRP)

Veritas is a regular stop for my wife and I when we’re out in Charlottesville. They make great wines and have a beautiful tasting room and grounds. They’re Viognier is one we typically grab a chilled bottle of while visiting and enjoy with some lunch at a picnic table, so it was nice getting to taste the new vintage Continue Reading »

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Oct 01 2014

2010 Camino del Toro Syrah

2010 Camino del Toro Syrah

Varietal:  Syrah
Region:  Mendoza – Argentina
Cost:  $18 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  Flashing a dark red and maroon color, the Camino del Toro is visually stunning. Even more so, fruit and spice notes with hints of vanilla, tobacco, winter spice, and oak are all present, representing classic Syrah. The palette is spicy and strong, accompanied by easy tannins and a long lasting finish. Pair this wine with roasted leg of lamb, or grilled bison and the combination will surely win you over.

My Review:  So a few weeks back my wife and I used a Groupon we had to get some wine at a discount. We signed up through the website and roughly a week later 6 bottles of wine showed up – all reds, all randomly chosen by the company (who I am leaving unnamed on purpose) that handled what can be either a club membership or a one-off if you so choose.

The first bottle that we opened up was the 2010 Camino del Toro Syrah. I enjoy Syrah, think it goes well with a variety of foods, especially items off the grill, and figured as we were winding down the outdoor cooking season that we might as well take advantage of it.

Unfortunately, the wine was something of a letdown.

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Sep 18 2014

2012 Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Region:  North Coast, California – USA
Cost:  $15 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  Rich, aromatic dark fruits and baking spices delight the nose, yielding fresh plum and blackberry fruit, violet, dried fig, vanilla bean, and Chinese Five-Spice. The wine is layered with smoky and sappy maple wood, roasted almonds, and hazelnuts and finishes with fine, firm tannins.

My Review:  So a few weeks back I talked about my thoughts on the Josh Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, how it wasn’t bad, but not what I looked for in a Sauvignon Blanc. I held off on opening the Cabernet for a bit, wanting to pair it with something hardy, hoping for something off the grill, but really wanting red meat either way. Beef stew turned out to be the option, and it also turned out to be a great pairing.

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