Thursday, January 22, 2015

Friendship Discovery Renewal; Under The Tuscan Sun

Best known for her book "Under the Tuscan Sun",  Frances Mayes has created a line of wines to compliment her Tuscan Sun lifestyle.

Pensiero, a Pinot Grigio that comes from the vineyards of the Dolomites in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Italy is aged in stainless steel tanks with 5 months on the lees.

The color is strawish yellow with aromas of green apple, pear and a hint of floral notes. This gives way to some nice green apple and pear notes on the palate with an nice expression of key lime on a minerally finish.  The wine is nicely balanced with nice acidity.

The wine will pair great with shellfish!

Pensiero defined by Mayer: "a basket of figs, a melon warm from the garden, an armful of pink hydrangeas, a carved walking stick, a jar of wild cherries." Tuscan always arrive with a little gift.

Next time you have an invite, think about bringing a little Tuscan Sun to the party.  Very reasonably prices at $13.99

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wine Word Wednesday: Foxy

Monday, January 19, 2015

Podcast: Wines of Turkey

Wines of Turkey 

 In this podcast I talk to Shane Rai of Vino Rai a Turkish wine importer.  When you listen, you will get an overview of the history of the wines of Turkey. We talk about the 4 wine regions along with the vinifera and indigenous grapes of the region. To get you excited I'll briefly touch on the 4 regions and the indigenous varitials and then you can hear the details in the podcast.

Diren, Tokat Region, Sahova valley Narince Vineyard
Diren, Tokat Region, Sahova valley Narince Vineyard

    Wine Regions of Turkey
  • Marmara - Bordering the three seas, Black, Aegean and Sea of Marmara.  The climate is Mediterranean with hot summers and mild winters.  The soil depends on the subregion, but you will find limestone to gravelly loam to cracked clay.
  • Agean - This region is in the western part of Turkey and faces the Greek Islands and the Aegean Sea.  They have a Mediterranean climate with soil ranging from clay loam to calcarious chalk.  This wine region accounts for 53% of all the wine produced in Turkey
  • Mediterranean - This region is in the southern part of Turkey and accounts for only 1% of the wine produced in the country.  You will find a Mediterranean climate and soil that ranges from pebbly clay loam to calcareous chalks.
  • Anatolia - This is the second most wine producing region in the country.  This region produces 33% of the wine in Turkey.  Located in the middle of Turkey, it is divided into 4 sub-regions.  The summers are hot and dry and the winters cold.  The soils vary per sub-region but you will find sandstone, volcanic, pebbly clay loam, glaciated alluvial fan, red clay, granites, chalky, so just about all kinds depending on region
Yazgan Vineyard
Yazgan Vineyard

 Indigenous grapes of Turkey
  • Narince - Grown in Anatolia, it has a profile similar to what you know as Pinot Gris.  Often sees oak and has flavors of apple, pear, citrus and pineapple.
  • Okuzgozu - Red grape the word means "eye of the bull'. You will find it produces a medium bodied wine with dark cherry, pomegranate and hints of earth and spice.  It is often blended with Bogzkere
  • Bogzkere - Primarily grown in Anatola, this grape produces a full bodied wine with complexity.  You will find dark fruit with dark chocolate flavors.
  • Emir - This is a grape that I am looking forward to tasting one day. Grown in Anatolia, it has citrus and tropical fruit aromas with a crisp refreshing palate of pear and apple.  Sounds like a great wine for the summer!
  • Kalecik Karasi - Grown in mid-Northern Anatolia, this grape produces a fruity wine with low tannins and bright acidity.
Shane imports 4 soon to be 5 wines from Turkey and you can find information on them on his website.
Gali Winery Stainless Steel Tanks
Gali Winery Stainless Steel Tanks

      Podcast: Wines of Turkey

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mionetto's Prosecco With Organically Grown Grapes

Even though the new year as come and we are well into, doesn't mean you don't uncork a bubbly.

Mionetto's Prosecco D.o.c Treviso is made with certified organically grown grapes.  What does that mean?  It means in the vineyard, the grapes are grown without synthetic chemicals and fertilizers. The grapes are processed separately to ensure their purity.

Prosecco is made with the Glera grape.  This bottle clocked in at 11% alcohol.

It had nice aromas coming from the glass of elderflowers and a hint of breadiness.  On the palate there was lots of green apple.

The wine is priced around $14.  It will brighten up any day.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Wines of Northern Rhone

If you like the Syrah, welcome to it's birthplace, the Northern Rhone region of France.

There are 5 main areas that produce Syrah each with it's own characteristics defining them.
  • Cote Rote - Northern most region. Produces only red wines. Growers can ferment the Syrah with Viognier.  Soil consists of shist, limestone which produce elegant and soft wines. In the northern part of the appellation the soil is clay. It is these terriors that contribute to the wine that is produced.
  • Hermitage - This regions produces both red and white wines. Here the Syrah can be blended with up to 15% Marsanne or Roussanne. For the white wines, Marsanne is usually the primary grape.  The soil is very complex.
  • Cornas - 100% Syrah produced here with no blending of the grapes.  The soil structure is granite. 
The above three appellations produce the Syrah used in Rhone AOC wines

  • Crozes Hermitage - completely different from the Hermitage region.  It's location is flat.  Here it is more about the fruit than the soil.  They produce Syrah wines with good acidity and are easy going wines.
  • Saint Joseph - This is a name not associated with a village or city.  The soil here is granite and the vineyards receive the morning sun, but it seems to disappear in the afternoon.  The wines from here tend to have tight tannins but is a fresh wines.
Condrieu is the main appellation in the Rhone that produces Viognier.

For more detailed information please view the video below produced by the Guild of Sommeliers.

Northern Rhône from guildsomm on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Wines of Bianchi Vineyards

Everybody has a dream.  In 1974 Glenn Bianchi and his father, Joseph invested in a winery in the Central Valley of California.  That was just the beginning.

In 2000 Glenn purchased 40 acres on the East side of Paso Robles and it is here that he built his winery and hospitality center.

Their Heritage Selection comes from the grapes grown in their vineyards.  The Lakeside Ranch is home to their Cabernet Sauvignon, 13 acres of clay-loam soil.  The Zen Ranch is 19 acres and is home to their Zinfandel vines with sandy loam soil.  The Creekside Ranch is home to their  Syrah and Sunrise Ranch is home to their Merlot.

Their Signature Selection wines come from grapes they purchase from vineyards in Paso Robles and the Central Coast.

Bianchi Signature Selection 2012 Chardonnay comes from the El Camino Vineyard in Santa Barbara County. Sur Lie aging in oak give this wine a nice vanilla aroma with some citrus hints.  The palate is well balances with tropical notes that finishes with a soft creamy lemon butter. SRP $25.99

Bianchi Heritage Selection 2011 Zinfandel comes from their Zen Ranch in Paso Robles. It spent 19 months in both new French and neutral oak. Very high alcohol clocking in at 16%. Jammy and brambily with cigar and spicy oak notes on the nose.  The palate is full of dark berry with a fiery finish.  As the wine opens cardomen and hints of black licorice become apparent in the glass.   SRP $17.99

Bianchi Signature Collection 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon comes from both their Lakeside vines as well as vines from their favorite Paso Robles growers.  The wine spent 26 months in French Oak. Aromas of coffee, dark berry, cherry and a hint of peppercorn.  On your palate you will find it rich in blackberry and other dark berries.  Hints of mocha, a little woody and it has soft beautiful tannins. Personally I would drink this wine now and not cellar it.  SRP $18.99

*Disclaimer - wine was a media sample provided by winery.