Weekend Wine Notes: 12 Wines, A Miscellany

For today’s Weekend Wine Notes, I offer a diverse group of 12 wines — six white, six red — arranged according to ascending price within each color, the range altogether being $11 to $32, so nothing to make the credit card groan. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s something here for every taste and palate, including some unusual selections; we (mostly) aim to please at BTYH. As usual with the Weekend Wine Notes, I eschew technical, historical and geographical data — much as we might dote on those details — for the sake of quick, incisive reviews, ripped, as it were, from the pages of my notebooks and intended to pique your interest and whet your palate. Enjoy — in moderation, of course. These wines were samples for review, as I am required to inform My Readers by authority of the Federal Trade Commission.
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Marco Felluga “Montgris” Riserva Pinot ...

Weekend Wine Notes: It’s Mid-Fall. Keep Drinking Rosé

And here are eight lovely, diverse examples, ranging from the delicate to the savory, employing a multitude of grape varieties from a healthy spectrum of regions and countries. As usual with these Weekend Wine Notes, I eschew most technical data, as well as information about geology, geography, historical and personnel matters, for the sake of quick, incisive review intended to whet your palate and pique your interest. Enjoy! (In moderation, of course.) These wines were samples for review.
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Berne Inspiration Rosé 2017, Cotes de Provence. 13% alc. 70% grenache, 20% cinsault, 10% syrah. Very pale pink-onion skin; quite dry, spare, elegant; strawberries and raspberries, lilac and lavender; hints of almond blossom and almond skin; tangerine; lithe, supple; a sleek limestone finish. Excellent. About $20.
Imported by Provence Rose Group, Miami.
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Berne Urban Provence Rosé 2017, Cotes de Provence. 12.5% alc. 45% grenache, 35% cinsault, 15% syrah, ...

Wine of the Day, No. 440

The Jordan Vineyard and Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Alexander Valley, is a true exemplar of the term “assemblage.” The wine is a blend of the five “classic” Bordeaux red grape varieties: 79 percent cabernet sauvignon, 13.7 percent merlot, 5.8 percent petit verdot, 1.2 percent malbec and 0.3 percent cabernet franc. The grapes derived from more than 60 vineyard blocks from the Jordan estate and 12 family growers — 89 percent from Alexander Valley; 4 percent from another Sonoma County AVA, Dry Creek Valley; and 7 percent from Mendocino. The wine aged 12 months in 94 percent French and 6 percent American oak barrels; of the French oak, 45 percent were new barrels. I begin this review with a litany of facts and percentages to show My Readers the meticulous and thoughtful approach brought to the creation of this wine by Jordan’s longtime winemaker Rob Davis. ...

Attractive California Cabernet Sauvignon Picks: Flora Springs Winery, Addendum Wines, and Murrieta’s Well

Hello Friends,

Nearly every day when wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new adventure. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine writer, and someone who appreciates the liquid expression of place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages around. The world of wine offers endless opportunities to learn and taste new things.

The wines featured in this post (the three Cs) are complex, complete, and compelling Cabernet Sauvignon wines. They are all from California, and from 2015—a vintage largely marked by warmth, drought, and accelerated harvest, which led to lower yields and high-quality fruit. Appealing, fruit-dominant Cabernet Sauvignon wines with big personalities are king of Napa Valley, and deservingly so. However, under-the-radar wine regions like Livermore Valley, situated just east of San Francisco, should not be overlooked—especially for medium- to higher-tier value.

With ...

Exitus 2016 Vintage Bourbon Barrel-Aged Red Blend

Bourbon barrel-aged beverages have slowly seeped into the wine industry and O’Neill Vintners & Distillers entered the field with the Exitus Wines 2016 Vintage Bourbon Barrel-Aged Red Blend ($17.99). This wine is a majority Zinfandel blend incorporating lesser amounts of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Merlot -- then aged in mature bourbon barrels for three months. The combination of wine and spirits come naturally for this family-owned wine and spirits company as they sourced the bourbon barrels from Kentucky and the grapes from estate vineyards or 15,000 contracted acres throughout California. These grapes are fermented in stainless steel before the barrel aging which helps the wine retain the dense fruit as the barrels add leather, vanilla, and chocolate notes. A side affect of the barrels and perhaps the Zinfandel is a little heat on the nose. And the tail falls slightly flat - but overall a worthy ...

A Pair of Iconic Cab Producers and a Sonoma linked Champagne

2012 Alexander Valley Jordan Vineyard & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (750ml $72; 1.5l $199)
Jordan Vineyard & Winery has been an iconic producer of Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon since practically its first release in 1976.  Their estate is located in the Alexander Valley AVA - just north of Healdsburg - which is the largest wine region in the county. The AVAs boundaries have changed slightly over the years but the the original border extended from the banks of the Russian River eastward to the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains and is sheltered by the moderating influences of the Pacific.  This means the day times are dry and hot whereas the colder night temperatures create a large diurnal temperature swing leading to slowly maturing grapes and intense acids. The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon contains 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot; and 2% Malbec from the Jordan estate and ...

Assorted notes


The silhouette of rock climbing tourists armed with mobile phones. . . poorly lit and snapped on a whim with little preparation, much like the following holiday tasting notes. . .

Snake and Herring Corduroy Chardonnay 2016 - an old school butter bomb, golden in colour. Peaches. It seems slightly attenuated. 16/20

Snake and Herring Higher Ground Porongurup Cabernet Sauvignon 2014. Black wine. Pyrazine nose - rich, fully scented, eucalyptus, a raisin edge. . . creamy and spiced in the mouth, zip and leather , very ripe, like a Christmas cake at times. I can see the appeal, but I'm not a convert. 17/20

Lot 80 Reserve Chardonnay 2016. Similar shape to the first Snake and Herring wine, more nougat and apricot, very flavoursome, cream and sourness in even measure, once again butterscotch and pulled punches. 16/20

Cape Lodge Chardonnay 2017. Unexpectedly tropical, quite sharp, piercing and charming. 16.5/20

House of Cards Chardonnay 2017. Flint ...

Weekend Wine Notes: Allons, enfants de la patrie!

The wine regions of France, especially Bordeaux and Burgundy, long served as the models and the ideals for producers and winemakers all over the world. Even nowadays, when wine-making has proliferated worldwide and expanded far beyond the so-called “noble grapes” of French origin, Burgundy is often seen as the apotheosis of chardonnay and pinot noir, Bordeaux the epitome of cabernet sauvignon and merlot, Champagne the ur-text of sparkling wine. I offer today, in celebration of Bastille Day, 12 examples that illustrate, even if in a severely limited degree, the diversity and the versatility of French wine production. Some of those noble grapes are involved — cabernet and merlot, indeed, chardonnay and pinot noir, riesling — but also a more everyday variety like gamay and obscure grapes like jacquere. In one blog post, no one could begin to assay the immense complexity of France’s geographical extent and appellation system, but I ...

Far Eastern Shore Winery: Slghtly Sweet, Fruit Infused Wines

Each year Maryland wine makers hold a competition that results in the Comptrollers Cup. In previous years, only winemakers served as judges, but for 2018 sommeliers and other industry professionals were added to the judging. The overall winner was Cactoctin Breeze Winery and a celebration was held at their winery where Gold Medal winners poured generous servings of these wines. The medal in the Sweet wine category was given to Far Eastern Shore Winery for their Dream NV Port-styled Raspberry Chocolate wine. The wine is delicious, not cloying nor gritty, and integrating the fruit and chocolate for a fine tuned wine. Whereas I had sampled many of their wines previously this wine induced me to visit the winery in Easton, Maryland using theCompass Craft Beverage Finder.

In fact the tasting room for Far Eastern Shore Winery is quite convenient to visit, right on Route 50 to the right when traveling ...

Hess Select Central Coast Pinot & North Coast Cabernet

Looking for wine to bring to a party? Then think of Hess Select wines; they are suitable because they are generally very approachable and boast an agreeable $20 SRP.  Whereas the Hess Collection wines are produced from the winery's Mount Veeder Napa estate, the Hess Select wines are produced from grapes sourced from other California appellations. Many of these are small family growers whom Hess Family Wine Estates has established long term relationships. Here are two such wines we received this month.

Hess Select Central Coast Pinot Noir ($20) - The grapes are sourced primarily from the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey. Director of Winemaking Dave Guffy says these grapes are grown in the Sarmento Vineyard, "located on the benchlands of the Gabilan Mountains in Monterey, where the Pacific breezes boldly cross the range each afternoon to cool the vineyards". This results in an extended and moderate growing season. ...

Jeroboams Bordeaux Rouge 2016

If only all young Bordeaux Rouge were like this Jeroboams Bordeaux Rouge 2016 (François Thienpont), France (£13.45 Jeroboams) Young, fresh plummy claret, with juicy blackcurrant fruit in abundance, sympathetic use of oak, and a vibrant, perfumed finish. Rounded and appealing, but carries its 14% alcohol well. S-

Nebbiolo is Still King at Breaux Vineyards

Breaux Vineyards opened in 1997 when it was only the fifth winery in Loudoun County and the 50th in Virginia. Today Breaux is one of the largest of the 43 wineries in Loudoun and statewide (270 wineries) and its success can be attributed to several factors -- starting with their location at the western foothills of the Blue Ridge and Short Hill Mountains. The 104-acre estate benefits from plenty of sunshine from late morning to sunset and consistent breezes that help alleviate mildew.

The second factor occurred when founder Paul Breaux and original winemaker Dave Collins (owner of Maryland's Big Cork Vineyards) not only heavily invested in new state-of-the-art wine making equipment but also planted a pioneering set of vinifera grapes. These grapes include the standard Bordeaux varieties but also Virginia's signature grape Viognier and Nebbiolo. In fact, to this day Breaux is still only the third winery in ...

Wine of the Day, No. 395

San Antonio Winery is the only winery in the city of Los Angeles. It occupies the same building in which it was founded, in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, in 1917, by Italian immigrant Santo Cambianica. Prohibition came two years later, and Cambianica switched to making communion wine and selling grapes to home winemakers. After Repeal, the winery went back to producing table wines. The winery was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Landmark in 1966. The family owns vineyards in Monterey County and Napa Valley and recently expanded into Paso Robles, the origin of the San Simeon Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, a robust cabernet with 5 percent petit verdot that aged 24 months in French and American oak barrels. The color is very dark ruby-purple with a lighter magenta rim; it’s a ripe, spicy and macerated wine that doesn’t tip over into exaggeration, though its heady aromas of black currants and plums ...

In celebration of Malbec World Day 2018…

April 17th is Malbec World Day (yes, that’s what the organisers call it, no idea why, imagine if we had Book World Day). So to get the party started, a varietal Malbec, plus a Malbec-heavy blend. Doña Paula ‘Paula’ Malbec 2017, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (£9.99 Spirited Wines, strictlywine.co.uk) Really attractive young gluggable style, […]