Friday, December 2, 2016

The Hidden White Wine of Armagnac

The Armagnac region of Gascony, France is located in southwest France. Armagnac is known to produce the oldest brandy distilled in France. Quite hidden is a beautiful white wine produced by Domaine Du Tariquet.

Tariquet a family owned winery in Gascony, Bas Armagnac since 1912. A love story through generations that keeps the family and winery alive with three generations at the helm, Tariquet only only produced Bas Armagnac brandies until 1982.  It was then when the family became pioneers by thinking out of the box and producing white wines and planting grapes like Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Truth be told, this is the first wine I've tasted from this region and I was blown away. The 2015 Classic was crisp, fresh and lively. A blend of 45% Ugni Blanc, 35% Colombard 10% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Gros Manseng it has a beautiful floral bouquet with hints of lime and citrus fruits. One sip and you will smile. Nicely balanced acidity with beautiful minerality leading the way to lime and pineapple that lingers on the finish.

This will pair very well with shellfish and it's SRP is $9.99.  A fantastic value.

So you can see how blown away I was when I tasted this, I did my first Facebook Live (I will improve)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

For the LOVE of Cabernet Franc - Celebrate Cab Franc Day December 4

Cabernet Franc is a very under appreciated grape and it happens to be one of my favorites. Now there is a day to celebrate the grape, December 4.

Cabernet Franc Day is spearheaded by Lori Budd of Dracaena Wines. She has created a website all about Cab Franc Day . It needs its own day of celebration just like all the other grapes.

Here is some information about Cabernet Franc and what makes it special

  • The grape originated in the Loire Valley
  • It's one of the 5 grapes found in the classic Bordeaux Blend
  • The union between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc produced Cabernet Sauvignon
  • It's lighter in color and tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Some of the aromas you will find coming from your glass are: tobacco, raspberry, cassis, violets, earth, cigar box
  • Some fruit you will find on your palate included cranberries and red cherries
  • It will age well 3 to 5 years.  Although I had a 10 year old Cabernet Franc recently that was very good.
On December 4th join all Cabernet Franc lovers in conversation on twitter and facebook. Hashtag your posts #cabrancday and tell us what Cabernet Franc you are drinking and how your like it.  If you are on twitter join the conversation at 8pm with #CabFrancDay and chat about the grape and what's in your glass with everyone.

What will I be drinking.  A Hudson Valley Cabernet of course.  It will be a toss up between Millbrook, Whitecliff, Fjord and Tousey. If I find any other buried in my cellar I will add them to the choices. See you online December 4.

Below is a Facebook live video I created for the event. Not the best video as my phone was horizontal and not vertical. Lesson learned.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thanksgiving Wine Picks

It's that time of year again, the beginning of a month of entertaining.  It all starts with Thanksgiving and the turkey dinner.  Some people stress over the food and some over what wine to serve.  Honestly, don't stress over either. It's time to spend with your friends and family and they will enjoy everything.

I like begin the festivities with a bubbly.  An inexpensive Anne de Codorniu Blanc de Blancs NV, Brut Rose or both are just the bottle to pop and welcome your guests to your home. The Rose is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and the Blanc de Blancs NV is a blend of Chardonnay, Parellada, Macabeo and Xarel.lo. Both will put you and your company in the festive mood. SRP $14.99

Some people question what to serve with your main meal, red or white.  Me, both.  Always have that choice.

This Domaine Du Tariquet, Tariquet Classic blew me away.  It is such a beautiful wine, a blend of Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc and Gros Manseng rom Gascony, France. This wine is nice and fresh with hints of floral and lime coming out of the glass.  It's nicely balanced with nice minerality, pineapple and other citrus flavors ending with soft lime on the finish.  SRP $9.99

Tousey 2013 Pinot Noir from the Hudson Valley is a nice red to serve, especially if you have sausage in your stuffing. This will pair beautifully. Smooth and soft on the palate with notes of strawberries and cherries. SRP $26

We really shouldn't forget a Rose.  Rose wines aren't just for summer.  In fact they will pair beautifully with your Thanksgiving dinner.  Back in June I tasted two nice Rose's that I think would go great with Thanksgiving dinner.  Ellipsis Rose and Passaggio Rose.  You can read about the Ellipsis 2015 Rose of Pinot Meunier here and it retails for $25.  You can find the review of the Passaggio 2015 Merlot Rose here and it retails for $29.

We can't forget dessert and that Apple Pie.  I would go for the Millbrook Vineyard & Winery's 2014 Late Harvest Riesling.  Sweet enough but not overly sweet to give a nice balance to accompany your pie. SRP $34

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Gardens of Two Hands Wine

The "Garden" Series from Two Hands Wine is from six of the Shiraz producing regions of Australia.  In Australia, especially in the areas where there are German settlements they called their vineyards "gardens." The "Garden Series" translated means vineyards, each bottle from a distinct vineyard. The names of the vineyards all come from Michael's family members.

If you notice on the above bottle one is red and one is blue.  They actually have a meaning too. The red label on Bella's Garden signifies Barossa Valley soil and the Blue on Lily's Garden signifies the cooler climate of McLaren Vale.

I paired both of these wines with Chili. I felt the 2014  Bella's Garden went better with it.  It was a little lighter in the tannins and the spices didn't clash.  2014 Lily's Garden brought out the spice in the chili where it was overpowering.

The 2014 Two Hands Bella's Garden Shiraz is from the Barossa Valley.  Alcohol content clocked in at 15%. The color was a beautiful dark garnet. Complex aromas coming from the glass were light floral, lavender, black cherry, blackberry, chocolate, There was a bit of anise in the distant back.  Dark fruits showed on the palate with black cherry, blackberry, currant and clove.

The 2014 Two Hands Lily's Garden Shiraz was very dark when poured in the glass. Reminded us of Coca Cola, but not in taste.  Aromas were blueberry, plum and a hint of oak.  This wine also clocked in at 15% alcohol.  The palate brought blueberry jam, black berry a bit of spice on the finish.

Both the wines above retail for about $69.

In all, it was a great month exploring and being introduced to the wines of Two Hands. I am going to leave you with some quotes by Michael Twelftree and a video recapping the wines and foods we paired with it.

"The sad thing about the Australian wine industry is that 80% of it is controlled by three major companies." -Michael Twelftree

"The trouble we've done in the new world is we've made the winemaker the hero not the vineyard." -Michael Twelftree

"The aging curve of my wines is a lot slower than I ever anticipated." -Michael Twelftree

"You just can't get away with a dud vintage anymore..." -Michael Twelftree

"You can't turn up to market with a whole lot of leafy green, thin, hard and herbal wines." -Michael Twelftree

Twelftree Model: "Acid is like the train tracks, Fruit is like the train coming into the station & Tannins are like the brakes."

Friday, November 11, 2016

Meet Matt Spaccarelli of Fjord Vineyards & Benmarl Winery

Many people know Matt Spaccarelli as the winemaker at Benmarl Winery in Marlboro, New York.  What you may not know that he and his partner Casey started Fjord Vineyards just a stone throw away. This year at the Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition Fjord Vineyards swept the top honors for their 2015 Albarino. They won Best Hudson Valley Winery, Valerie Cup which is the best wine made with 100% Hudson Valley fruit and Best in Show all for his 2015 Albarino.

Having known Matt since the day he began his wine career at Benmarl I felt like a proud mother presenting him his awards.  When I stopped by we talked about Fjord and Benmarl, the grapes, the wine, the equipment and the soil.

Grab a glass of wine and hear about Matt's new venture with Fjord Vineyards, what the 2016 harvest looks like. See he new tanks and chilling system and learn about the soil on both farms and why he planted Albarino.