Good Wine is Meant to be Shared!

My friend has been a novice of wine but always enjoyed a good bottle. Over the years with hanging out with me, he has indulged in one or hundred (give or take) excellent bottles. To my surprise he picked up a Dominus Estate Christian Moueix, 2001. He was as excited to show me as I was to see it. Needless to say I was proud. Despite being new to wine, he had remembered that Dominus was the bottle that started his love for wine and played a big part in starting our friendship. We both fondly remember the night we opened the Dominus, 2005 and a few more after that… It was a great night, even the parts we don’t remember.

He was hoping for the right time to open it up and that time came. It was absolutely memorable. Dominus Estate Christian Moueix, 2001 had alluring aromas of new leather, blackberries, white pepper, vanilla extract and this richness I could not forget. This was followed by flavors of lush and ripe dark fruits, green pepper, tobacco and some mild oak. In my opinion, this was pretty close to perfect. From start to finish it was quite the experience.

So my friend shared a very good bottle with me. I’m grateful for that and the experience. I’ve always stated sharing your best bottles with people you love will be more fun and memorable than sucking down that really good bottle by yourself! Slainte! TCW

Your New Summer Wine!

Albariño could very well be your new favorite summer wine! Albariño is a white wine grape typically grown in (but not limited to) Spain. Typical characteristics of the grape is its distinctive floral notes with summer fruits like apricot,  white peach, grapefruit, pineapple and some undertones of minerality. The wine is generally light and high in acidity with alcohol levels from 11.5% to 12.5%. It’s bright, zesty and crisp – perfect for summer! The price to value ratio is superb, typically around $15 or so a bottle. I have three excellent examples (slightly different in style) of Albariño from Rias Baixas, southwestern coast of Galicia, Spain.

La Cana, 2014: This is a riper style of Albariño with aromas of lime zest, white peach and pear followed by flavors of citrus, unripen apples, and tropical fruits. The citrus and firm minerality lingers on long after you finish.

Xion, 2014: This being more fuller-bodied,  I noted a bouquet of canned pineapple, honeydew melon and a palate of grapefruit and a mineral edge finishing off with some fresh citrus notes.

Morgadio, 2014: Unbelievably balanced with scents of crisp apples, minerals and floral notes. Upon tasting, I noted an explosion of flavors from apples, orange, mango, and melon. Although I really enjoyed all three this was my favorite!

Albariño, being super fresh and crisp pairs fantastically with oysters, shellfish and pan-fried white meats. People often ask me what’s my new favorite wine – Albariño is my summer jam without a doubt! Sláinte! TCW

Desert Island Grape

What’s your desert island grape? You know the question, you’re on an island and you can only pick one grape to drink for the rest of your life. For me, hands down, it’s Merlot. The movie from 2004, Sideways, may have negatively impacted Merlot’s popularity for a short period and increased Pinot Noir’s but I have always loved Merlot. Merlot can be incredibly elegant and very versatile from being planted all around the world as well as blended with several different grapes. In fact, it is one of the world’s most planted grapes.

I was reminded of my love for Merlot when I tasted Sierra Vista El Dorado Merlot, 2010 – Mountain Ridge Reserve. Family owned and operated, the winery is on Red Rock Ridge near the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. This sexy medium-bodied Merlot had alluring aromas of blueberry compote, blackberries, New York cherries, finishing off with a hint of oak. The palate follows suit with soft tannins, juicy dark fruits, with hints of cocoa and cherry cola. From the bouquet through flavor you can detect the 6 years it aged and it did wonderfully. This is a great example of what Merlot can be as a varietal. I loved this Merlot so much I ended up picking up a case soon after.

So yeah, if by some highly unlikely chance I end up on a desert island all alone and there happens to be a wine fairy granting me 1 grape for the rest of my life I would chose Merlot (and of course be specific with the region and vineyard). Well, that’s my choice, what’s your desert island grape?
Sláinte! TCW 

3 Cabs, 2 Regions, 1 Year

How’s this for fun? I went to a friend’s house for a dinner party and decided to bring over two 2006 Cabernet Sauvignons, a Lewelling and Ramey. After seeing the bottles I brought over, my friend pulled out a 2006 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon from her stash. BAM! We had an impromptu, and what the business calls, a Horizontal Wine Tasting. We tried 3 different cabs from 2 different regions all from the same year.

The first bottle we opened, Lewelling (97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc) was a marriage of dark berries, black cherries, exotic spice, earth and tobacco flavors. The tannins were velvety and the finish was long. We then tasted the second bottle, Ramey (91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec). This stood up strong with notes of prunes, dried figs, currants and oak. It was a deliciously well-rounded wine. Finally we got to our third bottle, Don Melchor (100% Cabernet Sauvignon), with bold flavors of dark chocolate, tobacco, leather and cedar. It was a rather voluptuous wine. We were all very impressed with each wine’s characteristics. Although we had different favorites, we really enjoyed them all immensely.
You don’t have to go to a formal wine tasting, just have one at your dining room table. Invite some friends and have them bring a bottle fitting your theme. It can be as simple as Pinot Noirs from around the globe to different grapes from the same region, or something like what I just did, with a specific year. However you do it, have some fun with friends and hopefully you’ll learn a little something new along the way.
Sláinte! TCW

Let’s get bubbly!

It’s a brand new year and I always love kicking it off with bubbles – crisp, clean, and alive! Is there a better sound than popping open a bottle of some sparkling wine? It makes me giddy. No matter what region you prefer; sparkling wine from the states, Cava from Spain, Prosecco from Italy, or Champagne from France, it’s generally all good. Although I usually prefer mine from France, Champagne can get pricey. What’s nice though is that I can still get that French profile I like from other regions that are far less expensive. For instance, The Languedoc in Southern France is a great choice.

One of my favorites is the Cote Mas Cremant de Limoux Brut NV (that was a mouthful). It is artfully crafted with a blend of 60% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin, 10% Pinot Noir, and 10% Mauzac. It has alluring notes of citrus, honey, green apple, and peach and it finishes with just a hint of graphite. This bottle has great power and structure coupled with crisp bubbles, making for a delicious party in your glass!

Flaunting a price point of $15.99 for the quality of juice you’re getting, you can’t go wrong picking up a bottle. After enjoying a glass or two of this sparkling wine, I’m feeling rather bubbly myself! Happy New Year and
Sláinte! TCW