Dona Paula Shiraz-Malbec 2006


This post is by Rob and Karie from In Vino Veritas


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Price: $12.99
Recommended by: gift from Mike
Comments:
We were delighted when our friend Mike brought this wine over, but we chose poorly when we ordered Chinese food to accompany it. The Chinese food was great, the wine was great, but the pairing didn’t quite work. This wine, with 60% Shiraz and 40% Malbec, will go better with other foods, particularly grilled meats. It has a nice, earthy, cherry flavor with hints of cocoa and tobacco, and it exhibits a long smooth, happy finish. For the price, this is a great wine, and we look forward to trying it again soon!

Rating
: 7.5/10

MÄHLER-BESSE Jumilla Taja Reserva 2003


This post is by Rob and Karie from In Vino Veritas


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Price: $10.99 @ Gary’s Liquors, W. Roxbury, MA
Recommended by: 90 points by Wine Spectator
Comments: We have been drinking mostly whites this summer, but decided to switch to red tonight. We normally enjoy Spanish red blends, and this one is no exception. It was very good! It is a blend of 50% Monastrell (Mourvèdre), 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Tempranillo, and 10% Merlot. It is a dry wine but has a nice, bold fruity flavor; the variety of grapes integrate with the tannins quite nicely. We would really enjoy this with pizza!

Rating:
7/10

Wine training and Project Laduma


This post is by JPR from handtomouth


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Blessed with wonderful (and wonderfully visitor-friendly) wine regions, the Cape is a fabulous proposition for wine lovers. Our setting can’t be beaten, and as our wines improve in quality there are very few wine regions in the world that can compete on our total package, with the good value of our wines being a certain trump card.

Yet, the one place outside the wineries where our wines could be introduced and enjoyed by locals and visitors – but has historically been neglected or treated very carelessly – is the South African restaurant. I have written before about the ruthless mark-ups imposed on wine by restaurants. These margins come with precious little value added to the bottle. All we can do about over-priced lists is vote with our feet, or complain. 300 percent mark-ups still amaze me, since friendlier wine prices always result in higher turn-around and happier customers.

On another front, restaurants have generally not invested in the training of wait-staff in the nuances and details of the wine that they are serving. Again, it seems a no-brainer: you will certainly sell more if the waiter charmingly explains a wine you may not be familiar with. However, in a competitive industry, where part-time staff come and go, the restaurateur’s argument is that this may well be time and money wasted.

Wines of South Africa, the non-profit international marketing arm of the industry, have come up with an ingenious solution. Spurred by 2010, and to enhance the foreign visitor experience (but with the clear spin-off of making our experience better too), they have launched Project Laduma – the training of 2010 restaurant wine stewards by 2010.

It’s certainly ambitious, but what a great idea. Half of this number represents waiters and waitresses already in the industry and the other half will be a fresh crop drawn from the currently unemployed. Project Laduma is being launched this weekend and you can contribute by buying the Project Laduma wine.

The Laduma wine range has been selected through a blind tasting by the Cape Wine Makers’ Guild and will be sold in restaurants and retail outlets across the country for a limited period at approximately R120 (retail) and R150 in restaurants. Proceeds of all the wine sales will contribute toward the SETA accredited training programme. A total of 17 500 cases will be available for sale, with the hope of raising R4, 5 million for Project Laduma.

Old reds


This post is by JPR from handtomouth


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The winery at Chamonix has a new restaurant, run by a French couple who used to have Mon Plaisir at the bottom of the Hartenberg Road. The new place is also called Mon Plaisir, and all pleasures are heightened by their list of French wines which augments the small list of Chamonix wines. In recent years, the Chamonix wines have really improved, led by their Pinot noir and Chardonnay reserve wines.
On a boeuf Bourguignon day a pinot was calling and the winery list featured the 2007 Chamonix Reserve Pinot Noir at R160. The French wine list featured a “village” Burgundy at R220. (Broadly, “village” is a term that refers to the basic level of Burgundy quality, before you get the “crus” where the individual vineyard is specified). Not that French wine is always better (though French pinot is usually truer to itself than our oaky versions), it is always interesting to taste, so we asked for the “village”.

The bottle that arrived was vintage 2001. Faced with the choice of drinking a fresh 2007 vintage red or a 2001, I will always choose the older. A red wine needs a few years to settle. Tannins knit, polymers join up, acids integrate. Some secondary flavours, called “bottle age,” often develop which add to the complexity of the drink. Besides all that, here in the Cape we so often drink only the young stuff that it is a treat to get older wine to drink.

Wasn’t always like this of course. When cellar maturation was the norm, reds were designed to age – they were pretty tough to drink before a few years had elapsed. Today, the approach to wine-making and style of wine has swung 180 degrees. Reds are built to drink now. Both for rapid commercial turn-over and because the perception is that the market does not like tannin, it likes easy-drinking.
Hence, nowadays, many of our red wines do not age (in the sense of continuing to improve) for much over five years. These wines are less tannic, softer and more approachable in youth, and the corollary is that they do not mature and improve for long. In the old style of wine-making (still practised in many parts of Europe), a red wine is hard and unapproachable in its youth, tannic and leathery. After five years it’s beginning to be drinkable, but it’s only soft and smooth after 10.

“Modern” wines are “pre-integrated” through riper fruit and soft handling and age is often not a prerequisite to further pleasure. The flip is that they will not go the same distance. In many ways, the red that really needs a decade to reach optimal drinking is now a relic of another era. This column salutes the 1975 Zonnebloem Shiraz. A month ago, still a wine to enjoy.

Petit Bourgeois Sauvignon Blanc 2007


This post is by Rob and Karie from In Vino Veritas


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Price: $10.99
Recommended by:
manager’s selection at Macy’s Liquors (W. Roxbury, MA)

Comments:
We usually drink Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand (and some from Napa) and love them, but this wine will force us to think about other regions. Petit Bourgeois is a bright, tangy wine that has no shortage of flavor, yet finishes very smooth. Flavors of pineapple loom large along with a pleasant, forward grassiness. It was a great complement to our yummy veggie sandwiches on a hot summer day. Not our favorite, but we would buy this again.

Rating:
7.5/10

Man Cave: DIY Network


This post is by Joseph and Curtis from Building Wine Cellars by Joseph and Curtis


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Tuesday June 17 was an interesting day. Besides working on two cellars (one in Bernardsville NJ and the other in Basking Ridge NJ) We received a call from a woman named Becca from the “man cave show”. Becca was looking for some help and expertise with a wine cellar they were making for one of the episodes (season 2 #12) and asked if we would be interested.

We decided to do it after we finished our two projects which consisted of checking out 2 cooling systems. We got to the set around 3:15 and were immediately brought up to speed with the project (which was a finished basement space for the husband. It was being built when we arrived: tuscan finish paint on the walls, new lighting, new tables, couches, chairs etc, flat screen and A WINE CELLAR.

John (the head designer) asked us if we could provide a wine cellar cooling system since they did not have one…I asked John when do you need it by? His respone: 7pm Tuesday…..We went into a full court press calling our suppliers and found one which we were able to pick up at 4:57 (3 minutes before closing) and it was only 30 minutes from the set. Once we got the cooling system it was a mad dash back to the set and then it was action time.

We got a brief introduction with Tony “the goose” Siragusa and Jason Cameron the 2 hosts for the show. We walked each of them through what and how the system worked, how the cooling system would vent, how the condensation would be removed, and of course how the room would be cooled. Jason and the crew (about 7 guys) were taking care of the custom wine racks and the 2 custom french doors for the cellar.

The space was being finished with a tuscan distressed plaster look and was really coming together. Once Ivan the “paint guy” was finished with his shoot it was Joseph & Curtis time! We walked into the cellar and Jason turned to us and said hello and asked us to introduce ourselves and then asked us to describe what we would be doing to the wine cellar. He then asked us to describe how the cooling system worked, and where we would be placing it in the room. Once we hung the system we then spoke about the importance of having a climate controlled cellar and spoke briefly about the custom racks Jason was making.

Jason then thanked us and asked us to stick around for a couple more shots. After a couple more pics with Jason and Tony our work was finished.

Overall it was a GREAT experience and we hope to work with DIY, AND THE MAN CAVE SHOW in the near future.

Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Stellenbosch 2007


This post is by Rob and Karie from In Vino Veritas


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Price: $9.99 @ Gary’s Liquors (W. Roxbury, MA)
Recommended by:
Boston Globe
Comments: This wine was listed in the Boston Globe as one of the best wines you can find for under $10. We agree! It is similar to Gruner Veltliner on the nose but exhibits flavors of both Gewurztraminer (spice) and Sauvignon Blanc (fruit) on the palate. Flavors of lime are most present, tempered with a buttery smoothness and a nice spicy finish. We had it with sushi (surprise!) and it was a fantastic pairing. It went particularly well with the sweetness of the unagi (eel). We’ll be looking forward to this one again soon.
Rating: 7.5/10

Chateau Bianca Gewurztraminer 2006


This post is by Rob and Karie from In Vino Veritas


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Price: $13.99 @ liquor store in Porter Square
Recommended by: just a domestic Gewurz we have not tried
Comments: We were not impressed by this. It doesn’t even really taste like a Gewurz. There is no real exotic spice flavor that you would expect; instead it’s a bouquet of flowers. A strong bouquet. There are also subtle flavors of pineapple, lime, and honey, but it’s mostly a bouquet. Not terrible, but not our favorite, and we won’t likely be picking this one up again soon.
Rating: 5.5/10

Welcome to our blog!


This post is by Joseph and Curtis from Building Wine Cellars by Joseph and Curtis


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We would like to thank you for visiting our website and our blog. This blog is all about how we build custom wine cellars for our clients. We will be discussing how we work with our clients to create a home for their wine. A home that allows them to preserve and protect their valuable wine collection.

Check back soon to learn more.

Perdeberg


This post is by JPR from handtomouth


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The Perdeberg lies between Wellington and Riebeeck Kasteel, named after the zebras that used to roam here. Many of the vineyards are now of great age (in the Cape that’s 50+ years) because the small mixed agriculture farmers planted white varieties for distillation rebates and it so happened that these farmers never pulled these old vines out – while the rest of the Cape’s vineyards were rapidly replanted in the commercialisation that began in the 1990s. The combination of rare old vine stock and the Perdeberg’s naturally granitic soils has resulted in an area of undeniable excitement for a new wave of winemakers.

Leading the new wave with confident energy and now world-famous wines is Eben Sadie, who makes his Palladius white blend solely from Perdeberg grapes. A good portion of his red blend, Columella (the 2005 was the highest rated South Africa wine ever in US Wine Spectator magazine), also comes from these slopes. For Sadie, a good wine is assessed by its structure, not its obvious fruit. The Perdeberg vines, with their age, give him this structure in spades, and their granitic composition preserves the natural acidity of the grape – and natural acidity is far superior to added acidity for a wine’s balance.
The Palladius 2006 comes across as a beguilingly soft wine, but its lingering persistence and mineral heart give you an idea of what role provenance can play in making individualistic wine. It’s a solid wine without being at all hard, and its consistency in the palate is fantastic. Difficult to find, expect to pay around R349 in fine wine shops. If Palladius is unavailable, get hold of some of his Sequillo 2006 white (R165). Again a white blend from the same soils, this time lower on the slopes, the result is a more accessible style of wine.

Other wines to seek out are the Lammershoek Roulette 2005, a blend of Shiraz, Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Viognier that packs a sophisticated punch and the Black Rock White 2006. The latter is made from old vines; it’s an intense blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and a little Viognier. On the reds, the Scali Syrah 2005 is herbal and lithe and even though it carries the structure of the area, this wine proves that Shiraz does not have to be fruit soup. Vondeling Baldrick Shiraz 2007 is a lightly wooded wine with an exuberantly spicy palate that’s fresh and delicious. If famous brands are your game, the David Frost Par Excellence 2003 is a modern wine of great intensity, still very much in its youth. Contact (021) 869 8655 or visit www.voorpaardeberg.co.za for more on these wines.

Do our reds age?


This post is by JPR from handtomouth


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




No theme to this column today, but a wandering through some of the wine experiences I’ve recently had. Always been a fan of Solms Delta for their idiosyncratic approach (you may recall the vine-dried or “desiccated” wines they make) and the fact that they have a fantastic on-site museum that explains the human side of our wine heritage. Now they are establishing a museum of music, a collaborative project with Richard Astor, whose farm is next door.

They’ve also started a harvest festival in the roots sense, where music and merriment replace commerce, uptight music and desultory picnic baskets. At the first one, the new Solms-Astor wines were launched. There’s a white blend, a red blend and a curious pétillant Shiraz. The blends are great table wines, easy-drinking but not simple, and lovely for the fact that they are dry wines without residual sweetness. They also have great names, the white called Vastrap, the red Langarm, and the 2007 vintages sell for R46 each. And if you are generally bored with clichéd back label blurb, check these out.

Another wine that makes good, lively drinking without being OTT is the Elgin Vintners Shiraz 2006. It’s got good spice notes, lots of fruit but also a tangy quality that refreshes. Only problem for me is the R78 price tag, I think this is more of a R60 wine.

Been launching into some older wines recently, opened the 2001 Delheim Vera Cruz Shiraz alongside their 2001 Grand Reserve. 2001 was a good vintage, and seven years should show these wines in a great light. This was true for the delicious Grand Reserve which has integrated beautifully and is really a polished wine – but less for the Vera Cruz which is tired and somewhat flabby. It’s still my opinion that the modern Cape makes Cabernets and Cab blends that age well, but have not yet cracked the code on Shiraz.

Of course, I say modern Cape because we now make wines that are easier to drink in their youth, and are less likely to age as well as the Cape reds made in the 1970s and 1980s. When you taste a 1974 Fairview Pinotage that’s still a lively, delightful wine today, you really appreciate this. In its youth, I heard from current winemaker Anthony de Jager, it was an austere, rather forbidding wine, with firm tannins. When last have you tasted a Cape wine that sounds at all like this today?

So I said no theme, but I have come back to a recurring feeling I have that our modern reds, for all the back label promises, are ill-equipped to mature (in the sense of improving) for longer than six to eight years. Whether this is actually a bad thing is debatable.

Hogue Genesis Cabernet Sauvignon 2004


This post is by Rob and Karie from In Vino Veritas


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Price: ~$15.00
Recommended by:
This was a gift, but we’ve had this on our wish list for a while. We think it was recommended by Sunset Magazine.

Comments:
Yum. It was yum from the first sniff. Very flowery on the nose and the palate. We also smelled Fruit Loops (honest!) and tasted plum, cherry, and oak. The flavor lasted a long time, and the finish was very smooth. Lots of flavors going on in this wine. It’s rather different from the California (in-yer-face-with-fruit) Cabs, but this was excellent. We’re becoming huge fans of Washington State wines.

Ratings:
7.75/10

La Uve Toro 2006


This post is by Rob and Karie from In Vino Veritas


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Price: $12.99 @ Blanchard’s (W. Roxbury, MA)
Recommended by:
wine tasting

Comments:
At a wine tasting event that included many good wines, this inexpensive Spanish red stood out as a super value. It has bold flavors of bright red berries as well as blueberries (particularly in the finish). The wine consists of a “tempranillo clone” called “Tinta de Toro,” and it would be a good wine at nearly twice the price. The smooth, long finish on this happy wine guarantees that we’ll be getting another bottle soon! Viva la Espana!

Rating:
7.5/10

Chateau Jean de Pey Bordeaux 2005


This post is by Rob and Karie from In Vino Veritas


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Price: $11.99 @ Blanchard’s (Jamaica Plain, MA)
Recommended by: sucked in by store advertising
Comments: We totally shouldn’t have opened a second bottle of wine tonight. And yet, we’re so glad we did! We so rarely drink old world wine, and yet this one is really good, and a fantastic deal for the money. We found strong flavors of plum along with chocolate and black cherry, and perhaps a hint of black licorice at the end. The wine consists of 70% Merlot and the rest is Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The finish is quite long and smooth. We’ve never been happier to succumb to good advertising!
Rating: 7.75/10

Hess Lake County Sauvignon Blanc 2006


This post is by Rob and Karie from In Vino Veritas


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Price: $12.99 @ Luke’s Liquors (Rockland, MA)
Recommended by: we love Hess wines
Comments: Given that we’re huge fans of Hess’s reds, we wanted to try their Sauvignon Blanc. What a perfect evening to try it … with sushi! It has a wonderful pineapple, peach flavor with a bit of a grassy finish. It had a bold citrus flavor but in a different way than our beloved Marlboroughs (New Zealand). And it might not be as smooth as the NZ wines, but we enjoyed it (and it got better the more we drank it). I don’t think you can go wrong with Sauvignon Blancs with sushi — it’s really a perfect match. And it does have 14.5% alcohol, so it will add to your happiness, especially on a Friday evening … with sushi.
Rating: 7/10

Chateau Ste Michelle Orphelin 2004


This post is by Rob and Karie from In Vino Veritas


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Price: $15.00 @ Luke’s Liquors (Rockland, MA)
Recommended by: we love CSM wines!
Comments: After visiting their winery last fall and enjoying just about every Chateau Ste Michelle wine we’ve tried, we were excited to find one that we have not tried. This red blend has 9, yes 9, varietals — Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Sangiovese,
Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Souzão, and Touriga — and was tasty to the last drop. It got better as we drank it (not with food but just as a “hard-day-at-work-and-now-chilling-out” wine). It has flavors of cherry, chocolate, and spicy pepper with hints of raspberry and vanilla and a smooth, long finish. It still is not as tasty as our favorite domestic red blend (Artesa Elements), but we’d definitely get this one again.
Rating: 7.5/10

The Spanish Quarter Cabernet Sauvignon-Tempranillo 2006


This post is by Rob and Karie from In Vino Veritas


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Price: $8.99 @ Gary’s Liquors
Recommended by: We like Spanish wines!
Comments: This inexpensive red is a tasty mix of Cabernet Sauvignon (55%) and Tempranillo (45%). Flavors of berries (mainly cherry) and chocolate dominate the palate with a bit of spiciness, and the wine has a longer finish than you typically find at this price range. We enjoyed it tonight with pizza with mushrooms and spinach and it was tasty. Not too fancy but very good.
Rating: 6.75/10