Oct 31 2014

2012 Noble Vines 667 Pinot Noir

2012 Noble Vines 667 Pinot Noir

Varietal:  Pinot Noir
Region:  Monterey, California – USA
Cost:  $15 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  Noble Vines 667 Pinot Noir exhibits appealing aromas of black cherry, earth and a touch of vanilla. Plush tannins and balanced acidity support core flavors of ripe Bing cherry, bittersweet cocoa powder, and delicate hints of sage. Enjoy on its own or with salmon, Veal Parmesan, or grilled lamb.

My Review:  This was one of those rare cases where I actually got to try the wine twice over an extended period of time, and then see if my initial impressions held up on the second go around thanks to a pair of the 2012 Noble Vines 667 Pinot Noirs showing up at my house. Having tried the first bottle a few weeks back, it was time to open the second.

In the glass the wine was what I at least refer to as typical Pinot Noir – a light shade of red that most people would refer to as garnet. On the nose I picked up dark cherry notes and a touch of vanilla, while in the mouth the wine was smooth, with more notes of cherry and a subtle tartness on the finish.

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Oct 29 2014

2010 Antonelli Montefalco Rosso

2010 Antonelli Montefalco Rosso

Variety:  65% Sangiovese; 15% Sagrantino; 10% Cabernet Sauvignon; 10% Merlot
Region:  San Marco – Italy
Cost:  $22 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  Deep ruby red with purple tints. The bouquet abounds in fruits of the forest, cherries and plums and enjoyable toasted aromas. In the mouth it is generous, warm, and beautifully balanced. Pair with flavoursome first courses like risotto, tagliatelle, ravioli, rare red meat, and mature hard cheese.

My Review:  I’ll admit to having been a bit excited when I was offered to try this and another bottle of wine. First of all because Italian wine always has a special place in my heart, and also because it presented the opportunity to try a new grape for me – Sagrantino. While this bottle has only a small percentage, the other bottle I received is 100% Sagrantino, a new experience for me.

But let’s focus on the wine at hand.

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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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