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Shelton Vineyards Cabernet Franc North Carolina 2017

Last March, I wrote about the enjoyable 2016 Shelton Vineyards North Carolina Cabernet Franc.  Well, last week I ordered a case of wine from Shelton Vineyards which included the 2017 vintage North Carolina Cabernet Franc and it was even better than the 2016.  In fact, it was fantastic. The 2017 North Carolina Cabernet Franc is a much richer, darker wine than the 2016.  The previous vintage leaned toward cherry flavors but the 2017  is a darker color and leans more to black cherry and cola flavors.  The alcohol content has increased to 13.1%. This is a new release and the winery has not updated their website.  Previous vintages have blended small amounts of tannat and petit verdot with the cabernet franc.  Since this wine is labeled as North Carolina rather than Yadkin Valley, there is still some mystery about the source of the grapes.  Never the less, this is a terrific, delicious North Carolina Cabernet Franc.  The winery sells this for $14.99 and I recommend it.
SC Wine Joe rating …
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Marked Tree Vineyard

Yesterday, we had our first opportunity to visit Marked Tree Vineyard.  Market Tree Vineyard opened this past Memorial Day weekend and it is located east of Flat Rock, North Carolina, in the Crest of the Blue Ridge Henderson County AVA.
Crest of the Blue Ridge Henderson County just received American Viticulture Area designation and currently has five Vineyard tasting rooms open to the public:
Burntshirt Vineyards Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards Point Lookout Vineyards Marked Tree Vineyard (opened May 2020) Stone Ashe Vineyard (opened July 2020) Marked Tree Vineyard sits on the Eastern US Continental Divide.  The small but pleasant tasting room is situated on the top of a mountain and there are outstanding views in every direction from the outdoor seating areas.  Mount Pisgah could actually be seen in the distance.  Since we visited on a Monday, there were few customers and it was no problem to maintain social distancing.

The grape vines were just planted in 2016.  Already the Vidal Blanc and th…

King Estate Pinot Gris Willamette Valley 2018

Since I have reduced the frequency of my posts, we have not been experimenting as much with new wines.  This has enabled us to go back and enjoy many of our old favorites.  One of our all time favorites is King Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Gris.  We drank this regularly a few years ago when it was stocked by Costco, but in recent years we enjoyed a variety of Oregon Pinot Gris searching for a new wine to blog about.
We are regularly asked about the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio.  Both are made from the same grape.  In France, the grape is called Pinot Gris and in Italy it is called Pinot Grigio.  The style of the wine is a little different in the two countries with Pinot Gris generally more full bodied and complex.  In Oregon, the wine is usually made in the style made famous in the Alsace region of France and thus is called Pinot Gris.
King Estate Pinot Gris has been the best selling Oregon Pinot Gris for many years.  The grapes are sourced primarily from the King…

South Carolina Wine Joe Blog Going Forward

SC Wine Joe blog began in November 2013.  In that period, I have written 480 posts.  These have included descriptions of wineries we visited and OLLI events that we led, but most blogs were our opinions of new wines that we tried.  Wine Jane and I enjoy trying new wines and comparing our impressions, but lately we are finding those new wines to be less enjoyable.  In recent years, we have averaged around 6 posts per month.  It takes a lot of new wines to find 6 that might be interesting enough to write about and you would be surprised how many have been poured down the drain.  We are now wanting to enjoy some old favorites that we have found.  We are not ending this blog, but going forward we will post once or twice per month on average.  Some months may have no posts.  Thank you for your continued readership.

Bernie and Cindy

La Gitana Gold Rioja Reserva 2015

Costco has had La Gitana Gold Rioja Reserva 2015 in some stores as early as September 2019, but I just found it locally last week.  Costco's price of $11.99 seems to be about half of the original price and the bottle sports a sticker proclaiming that Wine Enthusiast thinks this warrants 94 points.  While I do not find many 94 point wines for under $12, I do often find Spanish wines that over-deliver for their price.La Gitana gold is made from Tempranillo grown on 60 year old vines in the Rioja region of northern Spain.  It is aged for 28 months in American oak and an additional 12 months in the bottle.  The alcohol content is stated as 14.5%.
This wine improved significantly after 45 minutes, so I recommend aerating it accordingly.  I get aromas of cherry, blackcherry and vanilla in the glass.  I taste cherry, black cherry, spice, oak and minor blackberry.  This is a great wine for a small price and it is one of the best Spanish wines I have tasted in the past year.  I will buy mor…

Jolo Vineyards Golden Hallows Yadkin Valley 2019

My recent delivery of wines from Jolo Vineyards included a bottle of Golden Hallows White Wine Blend.  Last year, I wrote about the 2016 vintage of this wine that I found at a wine shop.  I really enjoyed the 2016 but I think this 2019 is even better.  This wine was bottled and released 3 months after harvest, so it does not experience much aging.  With a wine like this, the current vintage is always better than one that is a couple of years old. 

Jolo Golden Hallows 2019 is a blend of 75% Vidal Blanc and 25% Traminette, both French-American hybrid grapes.  The alcohol content is listed as 12.5%.

We enjoyed flavors of pineapple, peach, tangerine and a little honey.  As I said in my previous review, this is summer in a glass.  Obviously, this is a great wine to enjoy on the patio but I wondered how it would be with food.  Well, we paired it with baked Mahi and it was terrific.  I highly recommend this summer treat.

Jolo sells Golden Hallows for $26.  In North Carolina, Jolo wines are i…

Canoe Ridge The Expedition Merlot Horse Heaven Hills 2017

I have been drinking wine purchased directly from my favorite wineries for several weeks, but now feel that I can mix in some wines from big box retailers.  Therefore, I was quite happy to find this Canoe Ridge The Expedition Merlot at Costco.  Canoe Ridge has long been one of my favorite wine brands from the Columbia Valley and I always grab a few bottles anytime Costco has a Canoe Ridge wine.

I have noticed that Canoe Ridge will vary the blends on their wines significantly from year to year.  Whereas the 2016 Merlot had 19% Syrah, the 2017 has no Syrah but blends 4% Cabernet Franc with 96% Merlot.  The 2017 Merlot spends one year in French Oak and the alcohol is stated as 13.5%.

With this wine, I taste dark berry fruit with some cherry cola.  The tannins are medium intensity and the finish is long and slightly spicy.  I keep finding great values in red wine from Washington and this is no exception.  Wine Spectator rates this as 91 points  and I will rate it at 90 points.  Costco is …