Sunday, August 28, 2016

Amancaya Gran Reserve Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), one of the oldest and best known Bordeaux wineries has partnered with Nicolas Catena, one of the best known wineries from Argentina to produce this blend of Malbec (54%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (46%) from Mendoza, Argentina.  The wine is aged in French oak (20% new) for 12 months and the wine is said to have 14.5% alcohol.

The wine has flavors of black cherry and plum with a little earthiness.  It is a juicy, elegant, medium to full bodied wine that surprises with more tannins than you would expect on the finish.  The wine would be very versatile for accompanying casual or formal dinners.  This is a great option for the red wine drinker.

In my area, Total Wines and More sells this for $22.49 but I found it at Costco for $14.69.  I hope I can get my hands on more bottles at Costco's price.

SC Wine Joe rating = 91 points.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Cecilia Beretta Soraie Veneto 2013

Trader Joe's August/September Fearless Flyer features a very intriguing red wine from Venetia Italy, - Cecilia Beretta Soraie.  The wine is made using the appasimento technique of allowing the grapes to dry after picking.  This method is said to allow the grapes natural sugars to concentrate and their flavors to deepen.  The second interesting feature of the wine is that it is made from Italian varietals Corvina (30%) and Croatina (10%) and from Bordeaux varietals Merlot (40%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (20%).

Veneto or Venetia is in the northeast most region of Italy.  This is one of the major winemaking regions of Italy with Corvina grapes grown in the western portion.  Merlot is now successfully grown in the region and growers are experimenting with Cabernet Sauvignon.  Prosecco is one of the most popular wines from Venetia.

Cecilia Beretta Soraie is a medium bodied, crisp and only slightly sweet wine.  The flavor is black cherry and spice.  You can drink this wine on its own or as an accompaniment to red pasta, pizza or burgers.  It is a very enjoyable wine that almost everyone can enjoy.  This is a great choice for a red wine priced under $10 ($8.99) at Trader Joe's.  I plan to buy some more.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Paul Dolan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Mendocino County 2012

Recently at Costco, I found Paul Dolan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendocino County,  for $15.99.  While I am quite sure that there are great Cabernet Sauvignons from Mendocino County, I cannot say that I have found many of them.  Instead, I have found some that were not as good as what I have been drinking from Napa, Sonoma and Columbia Valley.  However, there were a couple of 91 point ratings shown, so I took a chance and added it to my haul.

The central portion of Mendocino County is very hot and dry during the grape growing season, which is well suited for intensely flavored and tannic red wine.  The County is a leader in growing organic grapes.

Paul Dolan Cabernet Sauvignon was aged 24 months in 15% new French oak and 85% in redwood and stainless steel tanks. ( If anyone can enlighten me about redwood aging, please leave a comment.)
All of the grapes are organic from gravelly hilltops in central Mendocino County and the wine is 13.5% alcohol.

This is a dark colored, full bodied wine with big bold flavors of plum and dark berries.  The tannins do not overpower the flavor and the finish is long lasting.  This would pair very well with prime rib or a dry aged steak.  I like the wine and think the ratings mentioned above got it correct.

SC Wine Joe rating = 91 points

Friday, August 19, 2016

Laurent Reverdy Sancerre 2015

Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer for August 2016 features Laurent Reverdy Sancerre.  Sancerre is a region in the Loire Valley, in the geographic center of France.  Most of the white wine from this region is Sauvignon Blanc.   The wine is less grassy than New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and more mineral flavored than Savignon Blanc from California and Washington.  These wines are aged in stainless steel and are crisper than white wines aged in oak.

Laurent Reverdy Sancerre is a very aromatic wine with scents of a flower garden mixed with tropical fruit.  There are flavors of peach, citrus and lemon tempered with a nice minerality.  This is a very pleasant summer wine and I really enjoyed it.  It is $12.99 at Trader Joe's.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Finger Lakes Wine Region

We just returned from a "Road Scholar" (formerly known as Elderhostel) program in the Finger Lakes region of New York.  Incuded in the program were visits to 3 Finger Lakes wineries.  In addition, we visited 2 wineries after the Road Scholar program.  Of the 5 wineries, we enjoyed 3 but cannot recommend the other 2.  The 2 wineries that did not meet expectations were staffed by servers who had no knowledge of basic winemaking.

The Finger Lakes region has over 100 wineries, making it one of the largest wine regions in the eastern United States.  The region is centered around Keuka, Seneca and Cayuga Lakes which create microclimates without extreme cold in the winter but with warm breezy summer days.  The area specializes in white wines such as Reisling and Gewurtztraminer as well as sparkling wines made with Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.  The most successful red wines are made from Cabernet Franc.

The three wineries that we recommend include one from each lake mentioned above.

Dr. Frank Konstantin and Sons

In the early 60's, Dr Frank pioneered the growing of Vinifera grapes in this cold weather region.  The winery sits above Keuka Lake with a beautiful view of the lake from the tasting room.  The staff did a great job with our group of 36 people.  The presentation was informative and the sample sizes were the most generous of the wineries we visited.

Lakewood Vineyards

This winery sits at the southern end of Seneca Lake, just outside Watkins Glen, NY.    The winery opened in 1989 and the wines were excellent.  Here is a link to a video about the winery

Sheldrake Point Winery 

We visited this winery after the conclusion of our Road Scholar program and it was clearly the best experience of our wine tour.  The winery sits overlooking Cayuga Lake in Ovid, NY.  The tasting room is surrounded by lovely flower gardens and the interior featured beautiful flower arrangements in both tasting areas.  Our server was knowledgeable and the wines were the best that we tasted.  Many of the wines were rated 90 points and above by respected wine magazines.  This is a small production winery so you will not likely find the wines in your local wine shop outside of the Finger Lakes region.  We agreed that all the wines were excellent but we especially liked the Gewurtztraminer.  This was an intensely floral wine with surprisingly low residual sugar.

Dead Soldiers

Sheldrake Gewurtztraminer