Thursday, September 29, 2022

Fall into Autumn with Feudi di San Gregorio White Wines

Are you like me and tend to drink more white wines during the summer? There is no reason not to uncork white wines just because the weather gets cooler.
As the autumn weather arrives, I’ve sampled three Italian white wines that you will want to sip and enjoy this fall.

Located in southern Italy’s Campania region, Feudi di San Gregorio was established in 1986 and is home to 740+ acres of vineyards. Among the vineyards, there are 200 plots that belong to local families that sell their grapes to Feudi di Gregorio. The grapes are grown in five designated appellations: Sannio Falanghina DOC, Irpinia DOC, Greco di Tufo DOCG, Fiano d’Avellino DOCG and Taurasi DOCG.

This past June, Feudi di San Gregorio became a B-Corp. A B-Corp Certification identifies companies that operate in accordance with the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and responsibility in order to generate a positive impact on their employees, the community, and the environment. In recent years Feudi di San Gregorio has implemented low-impact cultivation methods, adopted increasingly sustainable packaging components, exclusive use of energy from renewable sources, and invested in social projects.

Discover the indigenous grapes of Italy through Feudi di San Gregorio this fall. They won’t disappoint.

2020 Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina SRP $23 - From the Sannio Falanghina DOC that is located close to Mount Vesuvius, this wine spent 5 months in stainless steel on the lees and an additional month resting in the bottle before it was released. There were some nice floral notes coming from the glass, along with hints of minerality, apple, pear, and white spice. Crisp minerality on the palate was very refreshing. Notes of orange, pear, and honeydew with a long white spice finish with nice acidity.

2020 Feudi di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo SRP $28 - Grown in the Greco di Tufo DOCG appellation, these grapes were located 1400 - 2300 feet above sea level. Tufo means chalk, and the grapes were grown in calcareous soil, giving it the minerality that we taste. This wine was aged 3 months in stainless steel on the lees and another month in the bottle before released. Aromas of citrus zest, apricot and apples with hints of minerality. Racy acidity with notes of green apple and minerality that shines.

2019 Feudi di San Gregorio Fiano di Avellino SRP $28 - The Fiano di Avellino grapes are grown between 650 and 1650 feet above sea level. On the surface, their soil is moderately calcareous, but the calcareous is also at the deeper levels of the soil, giving this wine the minerality. Aged 3 months in stainless steel on the lees with another month in the bottle before release. Aromas escaping from the glass are floral, peach and orange blossoms. The wine is fresh and full of minerality.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery Wins Winery of the Year

This year the Hudson Valley Wine, Spirits & Cider competition was held Saturday, September 10th, at the Hudson Valley Wine Festival located at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York. I’ve been Chair of this competition since 2008 and have seen the region come together and elevate the quality of craft beverages produced in the region. Each year is better than the last! The wines, spirits, and ciders entered in the competition are a reflection of the love, hard work, and dedication of the wineries, cideries, and spirit producers.

Entered in the 2022 competition were 78 entries of which 73 were wine, 3 ciders, and 2 spirits. All are judged by a panel of 15 judges based on the American Wine Society 20-point system. This year awarded were 4 Double Gold Medals, 16 Gold Medals, 18 Silver Medals, and 22 Bronze Medals.

For the first time, Whitecliff Vineyard and Winery dominated, winning Winery of the Year, Best in Show, and Best Red Wine for their 2020 Whitceliff Vineyard and Winery Cabernet Franc and Best Sparkling Wine for their 2016 North River Sparkling Wine.

Milea Estate Vineyard 2020 Cabernet Franc was awarded the Valerie Cup for the Best Overall Hudson Valley Wine made with Hudson Valley fruit.

Merchant’s Daughter Ciderworks won for the second year, Best Cider for their 2017 Clara Reserve.

For the second year in a row, Robibero Winery won best White Wine for their 2021 Sienna.

Best Rose Wine was awarded to Benmarl Winery’s 2021 Dry Rose, and a newcomer to the competition City Winery won Best Dessert Wine for their 2020 Vin de Glaciere Riesling.

In the Spirits category, newcomer Ten Mile Distillery won Best Spirit for their Listening Rock Gin.

For a list of all awards, click here

Congratulations to all the wineries, cideries, and distilleries!

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Delaware Grape with Abby Wilkens (Stamp) of Lakewood Vineyards

The Delaware grape is an American hybrid. While its dark purplish skin would make you think it produces red wine, it’s typically used in the production of white and rose wines.

For this episode of Winephabet Street, we were joined by Abby Wilkens (Stamp), Assistant Winemaker at Lakewood Vineyards in Watkins Glen, New York. I first met Abby when she was 16 years old helping at the New York Classic wine competition. I have watched her grow into the amazing winemaker she is today.

In 1951 the Stamp family purchased an old run-down peach and apple orchard called Lakewood Farm. They began planting grapes and selling them to the large wineries and grape juice companies. In 1988 Monty and Bev Stamp and their children pressed their first vintage.

It was our honor to have Abby join us. Please listen to the webinar or podcast. Learn about the Delaware grape, Abby and Lakewood Vineyards.

We got to taste Abby Rose, which is Abby’s namesake wine. It is a blend and has 15% Delaware. It is a sweet fun wine with candied and floral notes. On the palate, you’ll find fruity notes of strawberry and other red fruit.



Thursday, August 4, 2022

Carignan - Beauty in a Glass

Last month on Winephabet Street we explored the Carignan grape with Tana Cole, Winemaker at Jessie’s Grove Winery in Lodi, California. We were also joined by the big boss - Owner Greg Burns.

Winephabet Street is a monthly series where Lori Budd of Exploring the Wine Glass and I work our way through the alphabet exploring wine and wine regions one letter at a time. The show is live on the third Monday at 8pm and is free, but you must register to attend. Put it on your calendar, pour yourself a glass of wine and hang out with us. (Dates do change due to our schedules)

Greg talks about the history of Jessie’s Grove Winery and it’s quite interesting. (no spoilers here, you have to listen or watch). Tana talks all about Carignan.

Carignan is a medium-bodied red wine, and the grapes are grown mostly in southern France. It is also grown in Spain, where it is known as Carinena. Jessie’s Grove Winery in Lodi, California, planted Carignan grapes in 1900. These vines are over 120 years old.

We got to taste the 2019 Jessie’s Grove Estate Carignane. This wine retails for $45. WOW! “It’s dense and complexity is beauty in a glass,” exclaimed Tana.

Very complex with layered aromas of cigar box, baking spice, cranberries and cinnamon. The palate is incredible. Very soft and romantic with notes of plum and cranberry. There is a meatiness and earthiness to the wine. It is very easy drinking and beautiful.

Watch the webinar or listen to the podcast and learn all about Jessie’s Grove Winery and the Carignan grape.



Thursday, July 28, 2022

Happy 40 Years Cline Family Cellars

In 1982 Fred Cline founded Cline Family Cellars in Oakley, California (Contra Costa County). On the property, they had 100-year-old vines of Mourvedre, Carignane and Zinfandel. He worked hard at restoring these old vines. The vineyard is dry-farmed and head-pruned, and the roots run deep in the sand soils.

They moved to Sonoma County in 1989, purchasing a horse farm in Carneros. They expanded and planted Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Merlot while still keeping their property in Oakley. Today Cline Family Cellars is a multi-generational winery with Fred and Nancy’s children guiding the operations.

To celebrate 40 years, Cline released their 2020 Ancient Vines Zinfandel which is made from their oldest and most historic Zinfandel plots in Contra Costa County. The grapes were destemmed and crushed gently to ensure that there were large portions of whole berries in the must. It is these whole berries that contribute to the explosive fruit character of the wine. The wine was aged in French oak for 15 months before blending and bottling.

Tasting Notes: On the aroma, I got cigar box, rhubarb, strawberry, cinnamon, cloves and star anise.

The palate was smooth and balanced with a nice tannin structure. Flavors of raspberry, dark fruit, plum and a hint of licorice followed by a zing of black pepper on the finish.

Food Pairings: This wine will go great with the grill this summer. Ribs, burgers, k-bobs, pulled pork and duck.

Cheers! Happy 40th Cline Family Cellars.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Summer Loving Bordeaux Blanc

We are into the dog days of summer and there is nothing like a great white to relax and cool off with. I know when you think of Bordeaux you think red wine, but did you known that there are 12 AOC’s in Bordeaux for dry white wines. Did you know that Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are the two predominate white grapes of Bordeaux.

When you think of Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc is different. It’s classy, elegant and acidic, but not racy acidity that will leave you with grapefruit pith in your mouth. Bordeaux Blancs are blends and Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc that complement each other so well. Where you get a lot of citrus from Sauvignon Blanc, you get some stone fruit, apple and floral notes with Semillon that balances out the acidity in the wine.

Bordeaux Blanc is the perfect summer white. It’s easy drinking, refreshing, compliments many seafood and cheese dishes and the best is that many are priced about $15.

I had the opportunity to taste two Bordeaux Blancs which I totally enjoyed. If you see them at the wine shop, definitely reach for it.

2020 Chateau Ducasse Bordeaux Blanc - 13 ha planted in clay and limestone with an average vine age of 35 years. This is a blend of 70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon Blanc. I will say the Sauvignon Blanc really shined through on this wine. Aromas of sweet red grapefruit, hay white flowers with a touch of minerality. The palate was soft and balanced with notes of red grapefruit, white peach, citrus, and pomelo with a hint of green grass on the finish. The wine says summer excitement.

2020 Chateau Suau Bordeaux Blanc Sec - Another great Bordeaux Blanc for the summer! This blend is 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. Aromas of lemon, white flowers, white grapefruit with a hint of stone fruit. The palate is soft, elegant and easy drinking. Flavors of pineapple, white grapefruit, and citrus finish that leaves the acidity tingling on your tongue. This is a great pool, beach, boating and picnic wine.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Summer Shades of Rose


Happy Summer! We are now into the full throttle of summer and as some would say Rose season. How do you choose a Rose wine? Rose wines come in all colors from very pale pink to deep pink and are made with many different grapes. It is also produced dry, semi-dry, and sweet. Let’s look at the processes and then grab your shade of summer Rose.

There are four processes to making the wine and it’s all about what the winemaker wants to achieve.

Limited skin maceration, the grapes are crushed and the juice sit on the skins but only for a short period of time up to 48 hours. This is where you’ll get the darker shade of pink the longer the grapes sit on the skins.

When the grapes are pressed directly with a very short time of skin contact you will get a Rose that is very light in color.

The Saignee method, the grapes are processed to make red wine, BUT, early on they will bleed (remove) some of the juice from the tank and vinify it as a Rose wine. The rest of the juice will become a red wine.

Some Rose wines are produced by blending. Yes blending some red wines into a white.

There are many different shades of Rose. Reach for some of these shades!

Beronia Rose 2021 $12.99 - Born among friends, to be shared among friends. Best served with friends. This Rose is a blend of 50% Tempranillo and 50% Granacha. The wine spent several hours in maceration with the skins and juice to extract the color and aromas. The wine is a beautiful soft pink in color with aromas of raspberry, minerality and spring flowers. The palate is full of ripe red berry fruit and is fresh and easy drinking. For $12.99 you can’t go wrong. (Sorry, it was so good I forgot to take a picture of it)

Josh Rose 2020 $14.99 - This Rose wine is 100% Barbera. It sits on the skins for a short period of time. Aromas of white peach and fresh cherry least to a palate of stone fruit, fresh strawberries and is crisp and refreshing.

Art of Earth Organic Rose 2019 $13.99 - A blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah this was produced using the Saignee method where the grapes sat for 36 hours in maceration. Notes of minerality, white pepper and a floral sweetness. This wine is a great food wine.

Fete des Fleurs Rose 2020 $18.99 - Comes from the Cotes de Provence appellation of France and is a blend of 40% Grenache, 35% Cinsault 10% Carignan 10% Syrah, 3% Mourvedre and 2% Rolle. The wine is bled off the skins and ages sur-lie. Very light salmon color. It’s a very nice wine, clean and fresh with notes of strawberries, and wet stone.

Mosketto Frizzante Rosato NV $12.00 - This wine is a blend of Moscato and Brachetto. If you like it sweet, you will love this wine. Sweet and refreshing, light pale pink in color with notes of ripe summer red fruit and soft light bubbles. I would pair this with the pool and a nice summer fruit tart.