Cahors: Your Favorite Wine For Fall

Cahors for fall Where I come from, fall is a relief. Summer is hot and humid and winter is long and unfriendly. Fall, most Midwesterners agree, is the best time of year when it comes to weather. It’s a short window of time, the truly kind season, so it’s common for people to fall into tradition to make the most of nostalgia and comfort. But we’ve got nothing to lose if we shake things up a bit — if we try new things. Like, perhaps, a new wine. Cahors (“kah-OR”) wines are made from malbec, a variety featured on wine lists around the world. It’s a marginal member of the classic Bordeaux blending crew (found more in Côtes de Bordeaux than elsewhere) and Argentine growers have embraced malbec in such a way that their treatment could be seen as a full-on revival. A dash is also grown in the Loire Valley. Called côt ...
Cahors Mapa

Around Italy With Red Wines For Fall

Red Wines for Fall
ITALIAN FOOD, WINE AND TRAVEL
On the first Saturday of the month, a group of food, wine and travel bloggers post about a region or a wine varietal. For September’s event, we look towards the change of season with food and wine that celebrate cooler weather and the abundance of harvest. These wines can be from any region, based on your own experience and preference. We are looking for roundup lists, pairing suggestions, travel inspiration, producer profiles and any other story that highlights red wine from Italy this time of year. The Favorite Italian Red Wines For Fall #ItalianFWT event will be Saturday, September 1, 2018. The following posts will go live early that morning and you can follow along on a Twitter chat — using #ItalianFWT — from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. CT. Marcia at Joy of Wine reveals Lacrima – The Aromatic Jewel in La ...

Two Wines That Prove Colorado Is The Next Wine Region to Watch

western-slop-sunset.jpg I grew up in Colorado. If you had told me as a high schooler that Colorado would one day be making fine wine, I would have laughed in your face. High quality beef? Sure. Beer? of course. Fantastic weed? Plausible. But wine? Never. But that was before I understood the origins of the vitis vinifera in the arid plateaus and of central Asia. That was before I visited Chile and Argentina and Turkey and Sicily and before I tasted wines from the high deserts and scrubby foothills of snow capped mountain ranges. Now the idea of Colorado wine is not only plausible, it's quite intriguing. Which is why, two years ago, I jumped at the chance to be a judge at the Colorado Governor's Cup wine competition. Wine judging is thankless work. It's tedious and difficult, and usually yields a splitting headache for me at the end of the day. ...
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Vinography Unboxed: Week of March 4, 2018

bigstock-box-of-wine-on-the-plain-backg-26760620.jpgHello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently. This week included some more wines from one of my favorite producers in Italy, Feudi di San Gregorio. I've been writing about these wines for more than a decade, and they just keep getting better. This week we're looking at two Aglianicos -- their entry level Taurasi bottling, and their more reserve Piano di Montevergine, both of which are worth getting your hands on, but the Piano is showing beautifully at the moment. While still on that side of the Atlantic, we should note the ever-affordable Viña Real bottling from C.V.N.E. that represents their entry-level Rioja. At $16 it's an easy house red. Closer to home, this week features some prestigious ...
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The Rockstar Vintage: Tasting 2016 Cabernet at Premiere Napa Valley

premiere_tasting_2018.jpg Some people run a marathon once each year. That's not my speed. Instead, I knuckle down and taste 200 Cabernets for breakfast on one particular Saturday morning. Each year, the Napa Valley Vintners Association pulls out all the stops to host its annual fundraising event known as Premiere Napa Valley. Not to be confused with its star-studded charity auction in the spring (known as Auction Napa Valley), Premiere Napa Valley is a more focused event. It is a barrel tasting and auction, in which the wines on offer are all unique creations made specifically and only for this event, offering purchasers the opportunity to own an incredibly rare wine that often represents the very pinnacle of the winemaker's efforts in that vintage. All the invited bidders are ostensibly in the wine trade (retailers, distributors, etc.), while other attendees include the media and winery staff. The proceeds from the auction ...
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Wine Importers Should Consider Wines from Domaine Ricardelle de Lautrec

Domaine Ricardelle de Lautrec Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Domaine Ricardelle de Lautrec is a wine producer in France’s Languedoc Roussillon region. The winery is known for producing natural wines. The winery has 50 hectares (123 acres)of vineyards. According to the winery website, the old Roman road (Via Domitia) crosses the vineyards. The Mediterranean influences the vineyards. The soils in the vineyards consist of gravel and clay-limestone. The summers are hot and the winters are cold. The red grape varieties growing in the Domaine Ricardelle de Lautrec vineyards include: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Caladoc. Caladoc is a cross between Malbec and Grenache. White grapes are Chardonnay, Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Lionel Boutié, a member of a fourth generation wine family, decided to farm the vineyards organically. The vineyards are labeled with AB certified by ECOCERT as well as the European Bio logo. The Domaine’s website notes: “Working in organic farming ...

I’ll Be Here, Hiding Under The Blanket (January 2018 Wine Product Review Roundup)

It’s time for the first monthly wine product sample review round-up of the new year, which means you now have a couple of recommendations for vinous-related things to buy after you’ve returned the crappier gifts that you received during the holidays! You’re welcome! Since it’s been as cold as Dante’s icy ninth circle of hell around here lately, I decided to focus on reading material, all the better to curl up in front of a fireplace with (drink in hand, naturally) and enjoy while hiding from the real world under a cozy blanket. Red wine bookFirst up is Red Wine: The Comprehensive Guide to the 50 Essential Varieties & Styles, (Sterling Epicure, 288 pages, $27.95) by three people that I happen to know personally (consider yourself full-disclosure-warned): the affable World Wine Guys Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen, and the legendary Kevin Zraly (who might actually still owe me some money). ...
Drink Progressively

Drinking the Past as California Burns

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Light night, even as flames roared through the chaparral of Southern California, I attended a wine tasting event to benefit fire relief in Northern California. The mood was quite somber as many of us reflected on how far from complete are the relief efforts in our own back yard, let alone what will be needed when the maelstrom settles in Southern California. It is, however, not so easy to remain somber while tasting pieces of California history, especially when they are in spectacular shape, as some of the gems below were. Even up until about five years ago, many of these wines (the Diamond Creek wines excepted) could be bought for a song. Or more specifically $25 to $45 on web sites such as WineBid.Com. But thanks to growing interest and publicity, not the least of which was the spectacular wine program that Kelli White and her husband Scott ...
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Carmel Winery’s Selected Mediterranean Red Blend & Israeli Wine Regions

Last month I received another sample of Israeli wine which led me to not only research the targeted winery, but also Israeli wine regions.  I immediately learned that Carmel Winery was founded in 1882 by Edmond James de Rothschild (owner of Château Lafite). Within ten years Rothschild had built two wineries,  both intended to support Jewish settlers returning from Europe. The Rishon Le Zion Wine Cellars was built in 1890 and is the oldest winery in Israel still in use. This facility was also the first to use electricity and the telephone. The Zichron Ya'acov Wine Cellars was built two years later and is the largest winery in Israel. These facilities make Carmel the largest producer in Israel and one of the largest in the eastern Mediterranean as they produce over 15 million bottles of wine a year.

Until the 1970s, Carmel focused on sweet and sacramental wines, but ...

15 Years of Argentina’s Finest Malbec

malbec.grapes.jpg There was a time early in my wine drinking life that I did not care for Argentine Malbec. I frankly didn't understand the fuss. I had bought several from my local gourmet grocery store over the years, and one or two from proper wine stores (never paying more than $15 or so). This sense, however, like so many early impressions of wine, was shattered one day by a single bottle of wine, from a producer of which I had never heard, and whose name I could not readily pronounce. My first taste of Achaval Ferrer's Finca Altamira showed me the true possibilities that existed for Malbec in Argentina, and introduced me to what would end up being my favorite producer in the region. No matter how many Malbecs I drink, I keep coming back to Achaval Ferrer every time. I believe that first bottle I tried was the 2002 vintage, ...
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Jamie Kutch and the Refinement of California Pinot Noir

IMG_8890.JPG "I was always a hobby person as a kid, but I I would push them beyond where anyone would normally go," chuckles winemaker Jamie Kutch. The last real hobby I had was DJing. We're not just talking about playing music, we're talking turntables, mixing, blending, scratching and shredding. This was an era when I was going to college in the Bronx, smoking a little pot and watching my roommate play with his turntables. He had been DJing for six or seven years at that point. I decided it was something I wanted to do, and within six months I was better than him. I spent literally hundreds of hours with my gear. It wasn't great for my education, but that's who I am. It's where I come from. My dad is workhorse. I remember growing up, he would spend eight or ten hours a day fixing boats, and then come ...
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Beef Brisket Sliders for Father’s Day!

Why not celebrate Father’s Day with preparing Beef Brisket Sliders, a recipe from Ferrari-Carano in California? This brisket recipe calls for red wine.

Beef Brisket Sliders

Serves 6-8 Ingredients for the Rub 1 tsp kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
4 bay leaves, crumbled
1 4-lb beef brisket
Olive Oil
1 onion cut into chunks
1 celery stalk, cut into chunks
2 carrots, cut into chunks Ingredients for Brisket 1/2 c cherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 c red wine
2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup prunes, lightly macerated in the red wine
3 star anise
1 tsp espresso powder
1 cup brown sugar
4 fresh rosemary stems
4 fresh thyme sprigs Directions for the Rub
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add salt, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, fennel seeds and garlic to a mortar and pestle and grind. ...

Le Cigare Volant from Bonny Doon

Le Cigare Volant from Bonny Doon

Le Cigare Volant from Bonny Doon

Over the weekend, we enjoyed a bottle of Bonny Doon Vineyard’s Le Cigare Volant Reserve 2011. Translated Le Cigare Volant means Flying Cigar. The wine was a blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. The protocols for producing Le Cigare Volant included oak and 20 months in glass carboys sur lie. According to the back wine bottle label, “Our Flying Cigar is based on the traditional Southern style encépagement.” It is also interesting to note that the bottle is labeled with the ingredients, “INGREDIENTS: Grapes, tartaric acid, and sulfur dioxide. In the winemaking process, the following were utilized: Indigenous yeast, yeast nutrients, and French oak chips.” Bonny Doon is one of the few wineries that lists ingredients that were used to make a wine. The wine was an opaque dark ruby color. It offered notes of black fruits including black raspberries, ...

A Look at 2014 Napa Cabernet: Tasting at Premiere Napa Valley

pnv16-3.jpg Each year, the Napa Valley Vintners Association pulls out all the stops to host its annual fundraising event known as Premiere Napa Valley. Not to be confused with its star-studded charity auction in the spring (known as Auction Napa Valley), Premiere Napa Valley is a more focused event. It is a barrel tasting and auction, in which the wines on offer are all unique creations made specifically and only for this event, offering purchasers the opportunity to own an incredibly rare wine that often represents the very pinnacle of the winemaker's efforts in that vintage. All the invited bidders are ostensibly in the wine trade (retailers, distributors, etc.), while other attendees include the media and winery staff. The proceeds from the auction of 225 unique lots of wine go to help fund the Vintners Association itself. The auction action at Premiere always serves as something of a barometer for ...
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Zurracapote Riojano: Wine Cocktails beyond Sangria

Zurracapote RiojanoRed wine rarely comes to mind when summer temperatures reach scorching heights; yet Iberians across the Peninsula have always devised ingenious ways to add it to every drink! Let’s take Spain as an example… Anyone who’s visited Spain – and wanted to go deeper into the culture than the superficial “Sangria, Playa and Paella” experience – has probably heard of the most basic of these mixes, the Tinto de Verano. This “Summer Red” (a mix of 1/3 red wine – locals use younger and fruitier styles like “vino del año” or “cosechero”- 2/3 sweet soda water, served in a tall glass filled to the brim with ice cubes) has multiple regional variants: “Rebujito” a Fino Sherry and 7-up mix popular in Andalucía; “Pitilingorri” (basque for “a little red”) a mix of rosé wine and orange soda preferred in Alava, La Rioja and Navarra; or “Calimocho”, a mix of red wine and ...
Custom Tours Local Spain

Interview with Mark Squires: The Future of Portuguese Wine

mark squiresWhen I first became interested in wine, I actively sought out places where I could talk and ask questions. Way back then, eRobertParker had recently joined with the Mark Squires wine bulletin board to create a space for wine geeks to chat online, eventually create “offlines” . Offlines were scheduled meet ups with local bulletin board members in a set physical location. I had a few exchanges with Mark Squires back then, but I didn’t know him well, nor was he in charge of any regions for the Wine Advocate yet. Today, that has all changed. Mark is now the man in charge of bestowing points for wines in Portugal, Greece, much of the Middle East (Israel, Lebanon) and others (Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Republic of Macedonia, Cyprus) - not to mention, much of the East Coast, USA. This past month, I stole a little time with Mark at the Michelin star restaurant, Pedro Lemos, while he was researching wines for the Wine Advocate. It was a ...
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