TN : Cotes d’Aigialia Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Cavino, Aigalia, Greece

This post is by ANDY CHEESE from WINE IN SWEDEN

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The grapes for this wine were grown on highland slopes in the province of Egialia Achaias at an altitude between 500 and 750 metres. The climate is Mediterranean. The vineyard soils are deep clayey calcareous.

Colour : Dark red/purple

Aroma : Blackcurrant, oak, vanilla, spice

Taste : Blackcurrant, liquorice, cocoa powder, oak

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 79 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Cavino

TN : No1 Edition Riesling Kabinett 2007, St Michael Weinkellerei, Mosel, Germany

This post is by ANDY CHEESE from WINE IN SWEDEN

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The sugar content of this wine is 38 grammes per litre. The wine was sealed with a screwcap.

This wine was imported by Granqvist Vinagentur.

Colour : Pale yellow

Aroma : Lemon, oranges, honey, pears, white grapes

Taste : Sweet, honey, lemon, lime, oranges

Alcohol : 8.5%

Price : 49 SEK (375ml bottle)

Mark : C

Website : Granqvist Vinagentur

French Wine Tasting NYC Week Day 4

This post is by Richard from The Wine Connoisseur

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Gary Vaynerchuk tastes 3 French wines and expands the palates of the crowd tasting along.

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What do to with wine flotsam and jetsam? [reader mail]

This post is by Dr. Vino from Dr Vino's wine blog

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wine_floatiesReader Ben writes in:

Floaters in wine.

How do you get them out? A finger? A spoon? Spit out the first sip? You’ve had that experience, haven’t you, of seeing a host of small floating objects on the surface of a glass of wine, usually just bits of cork, but sometimes strange looking pieces of “dust”… Anyway, I thought it could be kind of a funny little thing. And I am frankly curious as to the best approach!

I just swallow them for extra fiber! Okay, not really. I usually either try to drink around any floaties or swirl/tip the glass to get the bit of cork onto the side of the glass and out of play. What do you do?


Raphael 2007 Cabernet Franc

This post is by LENNDEVOURS from The New York Cork Report: Long Island Wines, Finger Lakes Wines, Hudson Valley Wines and Niagara Escarpment Wines

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By Lenn Thompson, Founder and Editor-in-Chief

In the hotter, riper years, one of my favorite local cabernet francs almost always comes from Raphael, where winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich eschews oak completely with his franc.

Of course without oak, the fruit is forced to stand alone. You can't cover up underripe fruit. Without oak, you can taste the season — good or bad.

I found the 2006 vintage of this wine, from that cool, rainy growing season, thin and underwhelming. Not so with this Raphael 2007 Cabernet Franc ($16), made from fruit grown during what might be the best one ever for cabernet franc. 

Black plum and blackberries burst from the nose with layers of earth and dried herbs. 

It's medium bodied, but crisp acidity heightens the flavors – a delicious core of crunchy plum and cherry flavors here with subtle herbal and spice notes and hints of mushroom that will likely emerge more with bottle aging. 

Look out for these 2007 Long Island cabernet francs. I haven't had one let me down yet. You can believe the hype. At least so far.

Producer: Raphael
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 12.5%
Price: $16
Rating: 30

(3 out of 5 | Recommended) 

(Ratings Guide

Robert Biale Vineyards

This post is by Roger from Innovative Wine Blog

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Robert Biale Vineyards It is always a great experience when we discover wines that we have not tasted previously. It is even better when it is a wine that creates memories. The Biale family has been growing grapes in the Napa Valley since the 1930’s, beginning winemaking operations in 1991, producing zinfandel from the estate’s oldest vines. Purchasing Biale wines is a process of patience, something very uncommon for zinfandel. The wines are allocated to those on their mailing list as well as some of the best restaurants in the country.

The 2006 Aldo’s Vineyard Zinfandel is one of the best renditions of zinfandel we have ever tasted. Smooth and elegant, the wine explodes with aromas of dark cherry, blackberry, pepper and spice. Smooth tannins and balanced acidity show this wine was made for food. ($Allocated$)

Judging wine at the Southwest Vineyards Association competition

This post is by Jamie from jamie goode's wine blog

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I’ve been down in Exeter today judging the Southwest Vineyards Association competition. We had a great panel of judges, and spent the day assessing almost 100 wines, of which more than half received a medal or commendation.
I’m very happy with the results we came to. It was an experienced panel of judges, and we were in quite good concordance for…

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Finger Lakes 2009 Vintage: Working Hard for a Happy Ending

This post is by Evan Dawson from The New York Cork Report: Long Island Wines, Finger Lakes Wines, Hudson Valley Wines and Niagara Escarpment Wines

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by Evan Dawson, Finger Lakes Editor

Just as hailstorms and cold snaps are destructive to a vineyard, sweeping generalizations are destructive to a harvest report. This year, more than any in recent memory, it is nearly impossible to describe the pre-harvest conditions in one or two declarative statements. That's because Mother Nature did some — let's just call it like it is — weird, weird stuff this year. 

Take the case of Hermann J. Wiemer, which utilizes three vineyards on Seneca Lake. One of them, the HJW vineyard behind the winery itself, endured a recent week in which every afternoon featured a burst of rain that could float your boat (though it hardly floated the boat of local growers). However, 10 miles north, the other two Wiemer vineyards saw nothing more than one passing sprinkle. It was like driving from tropical Florida to arid Arizona in the amount of time it takes Pink Floyd to finish one song.

So yes, conditions vary from vineyard to vineyard, from mesoclimate to mesoclimate. And yes, a lot can change. This piece is an effort to set the stage for what is to come.

"We might not see a single drop of rain until mid-September," says Rochester WHAM-TV meteorologist Mark McLean, inadvertently setting off a celebration across the region. But the challenges started months ago, and while September and October weather matter the most, don't let anyone tell you the early-summer weather means nothing.

The challenge started earlyGrapeCluster©MorganDawsonPhotography

"Later blooming varieties like riesling and cabernet franc were largely hit by rain and some cooler temperatures," explains Anthony Road winemaker Johannes Reinhardt. He's not talking about veraison; he's talking about spring bloom, when turbulent weather first arrived. "In the worst case, it can mean lighter and smaller clusters."

Why does that matter three months later? Because some of the berries will be small enough that they won't fully ripen. The photograph to the right shows cab franc at Anthony Road. Some of the berries are much smaller and won't reach full ripeness. Other clusters show gaps in the grapes with strong variations in berry size. That's not a disaster if the winery knows how to handle it. There are two ways to do it, according to Reinhardt.

"You can hand-harvest and hand-sort, removing the problems," he says. "But most operations don't have the resources for that, so it comes down to the crusher. If they crush everything as normal it could mean some highly acidic berries get crushed too — and too much acidity in the wines. But if they adjust the crusher to only break the berries of a certain size, problems can be avoided. It's delicate, but if it's done right then the problems of June can be corrected."

In other words, the right winemaker can make all the difference. It's not just the grower. Ah, but the winemaker won't stand a chance if the grower made mistakes, because…

Canopy management will be a huge factor

Ripening lagged from the start, and at one point growers were talking about being two weeks behind ripening schedule. A heat wave to start August sped things up, and now most growers agree that ripening is about five days behind schedule. But just how far behind each vineyard is depends on how growers managed canopies.

"It was a lot of work, but we think we've gotten it to being close to on schedule," says Mike Schnelle of Red Tail Ridge. The main photograph above shows Red Tail Ridge's highly acclaimed vines, which looked strong this week. Schnelle has carefully managed canopies to make sure grapes were getting the right sun exposure after an abnormally cool and wet first half of summer. White Springs Winery's Derek Wilber shot a video to help other growers see how to handle the challenge.

Hybrid growers explain that canopy management was less an issue for them. "With my seyval I didn't do anything different with the canopy," explains Ray Emery, whose Emery Vineyard supplies the Seyval for McGreogor Vineyard and Winery on Keuka Lake. "Some of the vinifera folks most likely paid more attention to leaf removal. We are getting ready to go remove the lagging fruit. It will make a difference at harvest." 

Regardless of what's already happened, there is a noticeable bounce in the step of Finger Lakes growers and winemakers, because…

September might provide the Cinderella Story

"We were picking grapes in 2000 that made wine that evoked V8 Juice," says Fox Run winemaker Peter Bell. "Trust me, 2009 is not only nothing like that, we'd be fine even without this incredible September weather. Everyone would prefer to be ahead of where we were at the end of August, but this is not unique."

In fact, the extended September forecast of relentless sun, 82-degree highs and 52-degree lows is "absolutely a dream," Bell says. Ripening is catching up in many places, and the warm days and cool nights could provide some excellent structure.

But there's another reason for optimism. Because of the heavy unsold local grape and wine inventory, some growers cut croploads this year — even before the rough early summer weather. That's the case at Anthony Road, where all vineyards now feature two fruiting canes instead of four. Reinhardt figures that will cut down the cropload by about 25%. And that means richer, more complex wines — along with a vineyard that is better equipped to handle challenging conditions. "This was the opportunity to reduce croploads," Reinhardt says. "It's not happening in all vineyards, but you'll notice a difference where it is happening."


So it's too early to declare this an outstanding vintage or a junky one, but it's not too early to say that more than many years, the better wines this year will come from the best vineyards AND the winemakers with a deft hand after picking. Customers should learn as much as they can about the vineyard and winemaking practices behind the bottles that will eventually come out. And if the weather continues to sparkle, it will be instructive to find out when producers decide to pick. While some growers say they're certain to pick later than normal, others seem beholden to a picking schedule that might bring the grapes in before they're optimal.

And if Mother Nature gets her crazy on once again, we'll come back and reassess everything.

Drink Wine, Age Gracefully

This post is by vinojoe from Wine Weekly

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bottle_glass_pour.jpgA battery of recent studies suggest that moderate alcohol consumption by people over 60 results in a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Through two years of studies conducted with over 28,000 subjects, it was found that 45% of male and 27% of women reduced their risk of dementia by consuming 1 to 28 drinks per week, compared to people who abstained from drinking.

The results make sense, considering that we already know that drinking wine can can increase HDL (“good cholesterol”), improve blood flow to the brain, and decrease blood coagulation — all of which may reduce the risk for dementia.

So there you have it — yet another reason to guiltlessly enjoy a glass of wine.

How To Taste & Talk Wine – What You Taste & How To Taste It

This post is by Michael Homula from Pulling The Cork

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Yesterday we gave you some thoughts on the technique for tasting your wine as we move to Part 4 of our How To Taste & Talk Wine Series – What You Taste & How To Taste It. Now that you have the…

Bringing you straight forward, easy to understand and fun talk about all things wine while featuring engaging conversations with leaders and interesting people in all walks of life using wine as a conversation starter.

Quick-Sip: Spanish pink bubbles

This post is by Ryan from oe•no•phile

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Pinot Noir Brut (NV)
Pinot Noir
D.O. Cava

Appearance: Clear, pale, pink with a yellow hue – like a pink/yellow rose.

Nose: Apple, citrus, strawberry, grapefruit, red fruit.

Palate: Medium+ acidity, dry, light body, delicate mousse, creamy finish, nutty, raspberry.

I love the bottle this came in! Lots of low shouldered, squat bottles of Cava. They just seemed classy.

Sambuca Reminds Me of Good & Plenty

This post is by Terry from

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After last evening’s dinner I had a taste of a black Sambuca. The dark purple to black color had an aroma of alcohol and star anise seed. The taste instantly reminded me of licorice, however after another taste I was reminded of Good & Plenty. The long aftertaste of the Sambuca brought back images of the white and pink candy that I remember from my youth. Of course the Sambuca is much better and was a delightful liquer for the end of an Italian meal.

It is interesting how some drinks can evoke memories. Wine made from Niagara grapes will evoke memories of Grandma’s house for my children. Muscadine wines evoke summertime memories for many in the southeast. So it was with the Sambuca. It may have been thirty years or more since I had some Good & Plenty. I recall that I would always purchase a pack when at the movie theater. What types of drinks evoke your memories?

Tick Tock

This post is by Sonadora from Wannabe Wino Wine Blog

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And we are finally coming into the home stretch for our Century Club application!! Tonight we drank grape number 97, the Cortese grape, from Italy. I really thought we had already tried this one, but as I looked back through my notes, I didn’t see it there. Oh well, I’ve now remedied that.  I also saw where one of my local wine shops is hosting a 4 weekend 100+ grape extravaganza starting this Saturday. I think I’ll try to check that out to add even more grapes to the list! If you are in the Northern VA area, check it out!  We opened the 2008 Principessa Gavia. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 12.5% alcohol, and cost us about $14 at a shop local to my parents’ house in CT.

Overall, the nose on the Gavia showed as very light.  I got some white flowers, spice, melon, and light citrus.  In the mouth I found melon, lemon, white flowers, and light orange.  The wine was crisp and refreshing, but delicate. Definitely an easy summer wine for the heat.

Posted in Italy, White, Wine

Domaine Champs Vignons, Prestige de la Jolirie 2002 ~ Chinon.

This post is by Richard from The Wine Connoisseur

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Domaine Champs Vignons 2002

Domaine Champs Vignons 2002

A cooked dark & cherry nose with a hint of burnt wood.

On the palate the are earthy notes with plum and damson. It is quite short on the palate with a acid finish, which is really not a style I favour, so in my opinion, not very good value for money.

Cost €5.50

Produced by:Les Champs Vignons (sarl) 2, rue Saint-Martin 37500 Ligré Indre-et-Loire Centre,
France Tel : +33(0)247931848

In Case You Missed It – 08/04/09 Edition

This post is by Michael Homula from Pulling The Cork

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In case you missed it, a look back at the week that was in the world of wine…well at least as we see it!

Bringing you straight forward, easy to understand and fun talk about all things wine while featuring engaging conversations with leaders and interesting people in all walks of life using wine as a conversation starter.

What Grapes Go Through for You and Me

This post is by Fredric Koeppel from Bigger Than Your Head

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I want to show readers something that most people who casually drink wine or love wine or collect wine don’t see, and that’s what happens to grapes just after they’re picked.

Wednsday, my group spent part of the morning and early afternoon at Quinta Vale D. Maria, a small property way on top of a minor mountain reached by a hair-raising drive on a narrow dirt road of insane hair-pin turns so precipitously close to a sheer drop-off that only a line of dusty olive trees seemed to keep us from falling to certain death. At least that’s the way it felt to me.

We were driven up to the winery and house by jovial and bear-like Christiano van Zeller, who owns the property along with his wife, Joane. Quinta Vale D. Maria had been in his wife’s family, he said, for 250 years.

We happened to arrive just as harvest was beginning on the steep, terraced vineyards and were privileged to observe the process by which grapes are transformed from firm little clusters of globules to a mass of stuff that looks like bubbling blue beastie brains, ready for fermentation.

Because Quinta Vale D. Maria is not a huge operation, the process was carried out by a few young workers. One man stood in the back of a truck that was filled with plastic bins of grapes. The grapes, by the way, represented a field blend of about 40 red varieties and would go into the estate’s table wine, about 85 percent of the production, with the other 15 percent being port. This fellow dumped the grapes onto the sorting table where a couple of women inspected the bunches and discarded any that looked “green” (not ripe enough) or bruised and damaged. We asked van Zeller what happened to the bins of discarded grapes, and he said that the workers would take them home and make wine for themselves and their families.

Here’s an image taken from the other side of the action. You can get a hint, from the background, of how stunning the landscape of the Douro Valley is, with its high hills and deep valleys lined with vineyards that seem impossible to cultivate. In fact, as often happens with the sites of great vineyards and winemaking, they seem planted in places that ought to be utterly inhospitable to farming.

The top of the sorting table is actually a conveyor belt that moves the grapes along slowly and drops them into a bin below.

Here you see the grapes coming to the end of the conveyor belt and falling into the welcoming arms (so to speak) of the destemming machine, a rotating steel screw that separates the grapes and stems and send the shorn grapes into a fat plastic hose to be pumped several yards away into a large concrete vat called a lagare.

Quinta Vale D. Maria has four lagares, each capable of holding 4,000 to 5,000 kiloliters, 4,000 kilos being a bit more than a million gallons of grapes and juice (the “must”). The grapes ferment both in the lagare and in tanks. Each tank in the fermentation room holds the result of one lagare. Red tables wines ferment for seven to eight days, but juice for port ferments only two to three days. Table wine goes into small French barriques (about 59 gallons), while port goes into large old casks and stainless steel tanks.

This machine is the “robot,” an electronically controlled device that crushes the grapes in the lagare. It can be coordinated so that the legs move up and down in sequence together or alternately or back and forth. Vale D. Maria still using the traditional foot-crushing, in which the workers enter the lagares and, one supposes, with a great deal of both concentration and hilarity, use their bare feet to crush the grapes. This ancient practice, van Zeller told us, “is important to make sure that the crushing is homogeneous.”

The result of the grapes we saw being handled today would be Quinta Vale D. Maria’s red table wine, of which the winery produces about 25,000 bottles (about 2,100 cases), an amount, van Zeller said, that is slowly increasing. With enologist Sandra Tavares, our small group tasted vintages 2001 through 2008 of this wine, which is made from vines that are 60 to 70 years old, and whatever the variations of weather and technique involved, the wines were consistently robust and vigorous, deeply aromatic and flavorful, resolutely minerally and generally the embodiment of a marriage between power and elegance.
Quinta Vale D. Maria has importers on the East and West Coasts of the U.S.
There’s much more to tell Readers, like tasting 45 ports from 2007 last night, or our train trip yesterday out to the eastern reaches of the Douro, almost to Spain, to spend an afternoon at Quinta do Vale Meao, and so on. Those events and others will come in future posts, but now I have to prepare for another day of tasting and traveling, this time by boat. I hope it’s a large, safe, comforting boat and not a small, dangerous, death-defying boat. Not that I care.

Let’s go moth hunting

This post is by Per and Britt from Wine Pictures from BKWine

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Zilavka grape variety. A plastic container trap hanging on a viney. Filled with a mix of vinegar and sweet fruit juice to attract insects moths flies. To monitor and capture insects. One of their best vineyards with very poor soil on a hilltop mountain near Citluk and Zitomislic. Vinarija Citluk winery in Citluk near Mostar, part of Hercegovina Vino, Mostar. Federation Bosne i Hercegovine. Bosnia Herzegovina, Europe.

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Gilbert Cellars, 2009 Seattle Wine Awards.

This post is by Richard from The Wine Connoisseur

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Interview with Gilbert Cellars ( at 2009 Seattle Wine Awards, with the best Washington State Wines from Walla Walla to Prosser, Washington.

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C. G. DiArie Vineyard and Winery

This post is by Roger from Innovative Wine Blog

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C.G. DiArie 2006 Sierra Legends C.G. DiArie 2006 Sierra Legends is a blend of 55% Syrah, 25% Primativo, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc. The wine has a lovely ruby red color with aromas of berry, cassis, plumb, spiced coffee and vanilla. Medium bodied with round tannin structure in the mouth, the wine finishes with a long cherry-plum finish and wonderful food friendly acidity.

The wine paired perfectly with grilled herb encrusted steak and fingerling potatoes.


C.G. DiArie 2008 Rose’
C.G. DiArie RoseThe C.G. DiArie 2008 Rose’ is a dry wine made from a blend of tempranillo, syrah and a touch of zinfandel to tone the color down a bit. The nose begins with a notes of citrus and strawberry with a background of baking spice. Good acidity and a finish reminding us of a light mocha. A great sipping wine for the remaining warm evenings.


Mary Ewing-Mulligan On Martha Stewart Morning Living

This post is by vinojoe from Wine Weekly

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mary_ewing_mulligan.jpgSorry for the late notice, but if you read this in time and subscribe to XM or Sirius satellite radio, you can hear Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW on the Martha Stewart Morning Living show, which begins at 9:30 AM EST on Friday, September 4th.

Mary is a Master of Wine (meaning, she’s a goddess among geeks) and the co-author of Wine For Dummies (as well as several other outstanding wine books) and the president of the International Wine Center.

This is a rare opportunity to hear a Master of Wine for free, and you will have the chance to call in with your wine questions. So if you read this in time, be sure to tune in to XM 157 or Sirius 112 at 9:30 AM EST today (Friday, September 4th).