Monday, May 21, 2018

Blazing Earth Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

The fourth wine from the Lidl Summer Wine Fair is Blazing Earth Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015.  This wine sells for $19.99 and is part of Lidl's regular Sommelier Selection line.  I never previously tried this wine, but buying it during the first week sale gave me a chance to try it for $13.99.

The Rutherford AVA is centered on the town of Rutherford in the middle of the Napa Valley.  It is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon.

As with most Lidl wines, there is not much useful information on the label.  We know that the wine has 14.5% alcohol and was made in a sustainable winery.  The wine pours a rich dark ruby red with dark berry aromas.  Flavors noted include dark cherry and some spice.  There are some dusty tannins that are not overpowering.  This is a very enjoyable wine and a very nice buy for $14.  I might buy it for $20 but I would not rush to the store.

I have tried to taste as many of the Lidl Summer Wine Fair selections as I can before the end of the first week sale where you can mix and match 6 or more wines for 30% off.  I have blogged about 4 wines in 4 days.  The sale ends May 23 which is 2 days from this posting and it is yet to be determined if I can do one more blog prior to that date. 

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Cavatappi Sangiovese Columbia Valley 2016

The third wine I tried from the Lidl spring wine fair is Cavatappi Sangiovese Columbia Valley.  This wine is produced by Precept Wine in Walla Walla, Washington.  Precept is the maker of Canoe Ridge, Waterbrook and Pendulum Wines which I previously enjoyed and wrote about.

This Cavatappi is 100% Sangiovese aged for 5 months in neutral oak.  The wine pours a lighter shade of red than I expected with a sweet floral aroma.  For a red wine, this is light bodied with raspberry, strawberry, and black cherry flavors.  The finish came with unexpected tannins.  I was not that enthusiastic about this wine and there are better choices in the Lidl sale.  The wine is $8.99 and I paid $6.29 in their sale that ends May 23, 2018.

SC Wine Joe rating = 86 points

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Visigodo Rueda Verdejo 2016

Visigodo Rueda Verdejo is the second wine I tried from the Lidl summer wine fair.  This Spanish white wine is from the Rueda wine region on the Duoro River, 90 miles northwest of Madrid.  This region is west of Rioja and is known for white wines made predominately from the Verdejo grape.

Yesterday, I wrote about the Love Joy white blend from Oregon.  If you poured me a glass of Visigodo Rueda Verdejo and told me that it was from a second bottle of Love Joy white blend, I would have totally believed you.  Visigodo Rueda Verdejo is a refreshing, easy drinking, dry, crisp summer wine that begins with citrus flavors.  If there is any difference from the Love Joy white blend it is that the finish is less grapefruit with more tannins.  The difference is very small.  The great thing about this wine is that it is only $4.99 at Lidl (half the price of Love Joy white) and with the 30% discount this week, I paid $3.50.  This has to be the best bargain of the Lidl summer wine fair.

SC Wine Joe does not assign numerical ratings to white wines

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Love Joy White Wine Blend 2017

LIDL has begun their summer wine fair.  Lidl's Master of Wine, Adam Lapierre selected 31 summer wines for this event and for the first week, May 17 thru May 23 you can mix and match 6 or more bottles for 30% off the regular price.  Some of the 31 wines are regular stock and some have been brought in for this event.

As part of this event, Lidl is introducing Love Joy wines from Oregon.  This line of wines is unique to Lidl and will be available for a limited time.  The brightly colored labels, front and back, have limited useful information.  The only things we know are that the wines are produced by Union Wine Company in Tualatin, Oregon from unknown grape varietals harvested somewhere in Oregon in 2017 and the wine has 12.5% alcohol.  Online, I learned that Union Wine Company is located south of Portland and is best known for producing Underwood wines in bottles and cans.  The Love Joy wine collection includes white, Pinot Noir and rose' which all sell for $9.99 and discounted 30% are $6.99 this week.  

There is a citrus and floral aroma from the wine.  Tasting the wine, you immediately sense citrus flavors followed by mild grapefruit.  This is a dry, crisp wine with no hint of oak, suitable for poolside sipping or for pairing with lighter foods.  We had it with keta salmon and it worked well.  We liked this wine beyond our expectations and I recommend it as a summer wine.

SC Wine Joe does not assign numerical ratings to white wines.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Kirkland Signature Toscana 2014

I have not seen Kirkland Signature Toscana at Costco in previous years so I assume it is a new offering this year.   Apparently, it has been in some Costco warehouses for a few weeks but it just arrived in Greenville.  Sometimes Costco works in mysterious ways.

This wine is a 80% Sangiovese with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot.  It is classified as a "Super Tuscan" because it is predominantly the Italian grape Sangiovese blended with small amounts of French varietals. 

I purchased two bottles and I liked the second better than the first.  Sometimes there can be a difference between bottles but more often, two wine days are different so I will be giving my impressions of the second bottle.

This is a medium bodied wine with flavors of dark cherry and raspberry.  The tannins are smooth and the finish is crisp and long lasting.  Although this can be an informal wine, there is good quality here for the $13.99 price and I will buy more. 

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Yadkin Valley Wineries and Vineyards

We just returned from a trip to the Yadkin Valley, North Carolina wine country.  Since, the Yadkin Valley is only 150 miles from home, we have visited the area several times in the past.  This trip was less enjoyable for several reasons, including that some of the wineries had sold out of their best wines with new vintages not yet released.  The wines we did drink were not as good as we remembered in the past.  Here are our reflections on the wineries we visited:

West Bend Vineyards
West Bend was one of the early vineyards in North Carolina and produced some excellent wines.  The winery closed a few years ago and reopened in October 2016 under new owners Walt and Sonya Breathwit.  The new owners razed the old inadequate tasting room and winery and built a new state of the art facility.  The vines were neglected during the closure and the new owners are working hard to restore the vineyard.  Some of their current wines are made with grapes from other sources.  We were served by Sonya in the beautiful tasting room.  We loved learning about their efforts to bring back West Bend, but at this time, their wines are not yet where they will be in a couple of years.

Medaloni Cellars
Medaloni is a winery but not a vineyard.  All of their wines are made from grapes grown by others.  This winery has a beautiful covered, outdoor tasting area which we enjoyed on a picture perfect spring day.  Medaloni has a reputation for excellent wines but we could not confirm that based on the minute samples we were served by a revved up server rushing through the tasting.

Cellar 4201
Do not try to find this tasting room without a GPS.  Cellar 4201 is a vineyard but not a winery.  All of their wines are made at the Laurel Grey Winery.  We had a pleasant server and probably enjoyed the red wines here more than any others on this trip.

Shelton Vineyards
Shelton was having their spring fling celebration which included craft booths, food trucks, live music, free tours of the winery and a free wine tasting.  We scheduled our trip to coincide with this event.
The free tasting included 5 wines that you selected out of a list of 12.  We especially like the Sauvignon Blanc and the Estate Cabernet Franc.

Elkin Creek Winery
Elkin Creek is one of our favorite stops in the Yadkin Valley.  However, this time they were sold out of our favorites and the wines we tasted were not as good.  The sample pours here were the most generous on our trip.  Our male server was was quite attentive to a table of 5 ladies but far less attentive to us.

Piccione Vineyards
This vineyard is only a few years old and this was our first visit.  Piccione is next door to Raffaldini Vineyards and has a fantastic view looking down on acres of vineyards.  Piccione specializes primarily on Italian grapes but also grows a few French varietals.  We actually enjoyed the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot better than the Italian style wines.

Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery
We have been to Raffaldini a few times in the past.  This time we had a very pleasant server who was not yet as knowledgeable as she will be.  I did not think the wines were as good as on previous trips but I did enjoy the 2017 Liguria Verminto/ Pinot Grigio blend.

My observation is that the 2016 vintage wines were not up to earlier vintages.  Others may dispute that based on a larger sample than these 7 wineries.  For now, I will visit wineries near Hendersonville and Tryon, North Carolina which are much closer to home.  The wines I tasted recently at the Overmountain Vineyards were far superior to those I tasted on this trip.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Bogle Phantom Red Blend California 2014

Bogle Phantom is a popular red blend from California.  The wine is a blend of 42% Petite Sirah, 34% Zinfandel, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot aged 24 months in one and two year old American oak.  The alcohol content is 14.5% by volume.

The wine name and the bottle label evoke feelings of mystery and suspense lurking in the shadows.  The wine pours a dark ruby color with aromas of raisins and spice.  There are many concentrated flavors layered into this wine.  I detected black cherry, blackberry, cherry cola, vanilla and some baking spice with dusty tannins.  This wine was quite different from the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot dominated red blends we have been drinking lately and we really enjoyed the Phantom!

The Greenville Costco is currently selling the Phantom for $14.99 and Total Wine and More sells it for $16.99.  Otherwise you will probably pay about $20 in a grocery.  We have stocked up a few bottles while it is available at Costco.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points