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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Wine Each Week – Drusian Valdobbiadene Prosecco


In the late 1860s, Italy had just made its first sparkling wine. Unlike Champagne from France, Prosecco from Italy is usually is produced using an alternative method whereby the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks not inside individual bottles. This makes the wine less expensive to produce and it can be produced in greater volume.
Drusian is no stranger to Prosecco and this iteration (Superiore DOGC Brut to be precise) is made from traditional 100% Glera and grown on clay and limestone soils offering slightly tart citrus notes, baked sourdough bread, lime, and delicate carbonation. It scrubs the palate clean, offers a bright acidity and is poised to work with any number of diverse foods from light to heavy pasta/risotto dishes to fish, even veal. At this price and of this quality, this is an admirable wine.
ORIGIN: Valdobbiadene, Italy
ALCOHOL: 11%
PRICE: $16/ 750ML
SCORE: 90 POINTS

Friday, February 14, 2020

Wine Each Week – 2017 Frank Family Carneros Chardonnay


The word “summery“ is used often to describe a wine but it seems like a cheap descriptor. What does “summer in a glass” even really mean? Yet it seems to be the perfect word to describe this Frank Family Chardonnay. Bright, lively, warm, vibrant all come to mind. The 2017 is full of white peach, citrus lemon, Kieffer lime, lemon verbena, toasted bread, red apple, and a beautiful acidity that supports the structure of the wine. This iteration sheds some of the more caramelized notes in the past and brings forth an expressive Chardonnay that can easily pair well with an abundance of foods given its acidic nature. Aged for nine months in roughly 1/3rd percentages of new, once used and twice used French oak barrels, it offers viscosity and grace.
ORIGIN: Carneros, Napa, Sonoma
ALCOHOL: 14.4%
PRICE: $38/ 750ML
SCORE: 90 POINTS

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Wine Each Week – Oliver Winery, Cherry Moscato


There are thousands of wineries in the United States and nearly 100 in Indiana. California draws the lion share of wineries as does Oregon and Washington, obviously. But Indiana? Few people equate Indiana with wine but in 1972 Oliver Winery opened their doors near Bloomington. For their non-vintage Cherry Moscato, they blend Muscat Canelli and Muscat Alexander then add, quite deftly, the juice of tart Montmorency cherries, and a slight carbonation. Fortunately, the cherry on this is mild and the sweet delicate floral notes of the Muscat shine through. There are notes of cherry, lavender, mild honey, lemon-lime and a minimal sweetness. There is a pleasant if limited acidity but for $12 this is delightful little wine that will make you think twice about what’s coming out of Indiana.

ORIGIN: Indiana Uplands AVA, Indiana
ALCOHOL: 6.6%
PRICE: $12/ 750ML
SCORE: 90 POINTS 

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Wine Each Week – 2017 Veramonte Pinot Noir


I love being surprised by a wine. This Veramonte was on a bottom shelf of my samples cabinet, tucked in between pricey Napa wines. This is what truly excites me – finding a wine that delivers on quality and taste and is under 11 bucks. The 2017 is all lively raspberry, black cherry, blueberry, pepper spice, vanilla, sweet charred wood, and vibrant acidity. It spent just eight months of aging in neutral oak barrels so the oak influence is quite minimal. To be sure it is less nuanced than more expensive Pinot Noirs however this allows any wine lover to get their hands on an excellent quality wine, and for those from whom I hear all the time, “I can’t find a Pinot I like that I can afford,” their query has been answered.
ORIGIN: Casablanca Valley, Chile
ALCOHOL: 14%
PRICE: $10.99/ 750ML
SCORE: 92 POINTS

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Wine Each Week – Lucien Albrecht Brut Rose Crémant


That this winery began in 1698 telegraphs that they probably know what they’re doing by this time. And here’s why… Coming from the Alsace region in France Lucien Albrecht ‘s Brut Rose’ is made of 100% Pinot Noir, free run juice, so they say. This Crémant is a light and delicate sparkler with minimal carbonation and a slight sweetness (as a side note, Crémant is a sparkling wine not made in the Champagne region, therefore it cannot be called Champagne, even though it’s made the same way. Rules are rules!). This bottle offers notes of pomegranate, currant, mild strawberry, red delicious apple, wild cherry and black cherry. This avoids many of the common yeasty and baked bread notes that some people find uninteresting in the world of sparkling wines, therefore there is no bitterness or tightness but a soft enjoyable fruit at a reasonable price.

ORIGIN: Alsace, France
ALCOHOL: 12%
PRICE: $23 (750ML)
SCORE: 91 POINTS

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Wine Each Week – 2017 Metz Road Chardonnay, Riverview Vineyard


Metz Road is the road that fronts the Riverview Vineyard in Monterey County. This 215-acre parcel is home to Chard and Pinot, what Scheid calls a “Burgundian landscape,” a cooler plot just above the Salinas River and buffeted by winds coming from the Pacific Ocean. Using Chardonnay clones 96, 4, 76 and 78 there are tangy notes of persimmon, lemon verbena, tangerine, a mild spiciness on the finish, and a bright freshness from its inherent acidity. It walks that fine line between oaked and un-oaked, possessing a solid structure and mouth feel. Part of that is its time in barrel – after fermentation the wine was moved into French oak barrels for 18 months, while just 42% of those barrels were new, and therefore some of the more caramel and buttery notes are present but not overwhelming. This is an enjoyable Chardonnay with a multi-layered approach.
2,917 cases
ORIGIN: Monterey County, California
ALCOHOL: 14.5%
PRICE: $29.99 (750ML)
SCORE: 91 POINTS

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Wine Each Week - 2016 Marques Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon


Good Cabernet Sauvignon need not be expensive Cabernet Sauvignon. This is why the Chilean region is gaining so much popularity; you can still find immense quality at reasonable prices. Case in point, the Marques Casa Concha delivers both. There are notes of blackberry, blueberry, soft notes of black cherry and elderberry, hints of vanilla and a deft acidity which is exactly what you want with a food wine. It’s comprised of predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with 5% Syrah and 4% Cabernet Franc blended in. The grapes were harvested in April of 2016 and after fermentation it was aged in French oak barrels for 16 months. Solid winemaking, a solid wine, this delivers exceptional quality.
ORIGIN: Maipo Valley, Chile
ALCOHOL: 13.5%
PRICE: $24.99/ 750ML
SCORE: 91 POINTS