Thursday, March 7, 2024

Winter Warmth with Spanish Reds: Stay Cozy with Beronia Graciano & Dominio Fournier

The winter isn’t over; March can be difficult, and there's nothing quite like the warmth and comfort a glass of red wine can provide. Let's warm up with Spain's renowned wine regions to explore two beautiful reds that promise to elevate your March evenings: Beronia Graciano 2020 from Rioja and Dominio Fournier 2019 from Ribera Del Duero.

Beronia Graciano 2020, Rioja

Nestled in the Rioja region, Beronia was created in 1973 by a group of friends who had a mission to make great wine. The Beronia Graciano 2020 is a testament to their mission. Graciano, is an indigenous grape variety not grown in many other areas. It ages well and makes wines that are tannic and deep in color.

The Beronia Graciano 2020 SRP $27.99 is medium body and smooth. It has wonderful aromas of violets dark berries, hints of cocoa, tobacco and spice. The palate is wonderful, with ripe bright red fruit, raspberry, plum with a hint vanilla and warm spicy notes.

Something about this wine transports me to a summer day in my childhood.

Dominio Fournier 2019, Ribera Del Duero

Dominio Fournier is located in Ribera Del Duero, a region celebrated for producing some of Spain's most powerful and expressive wines. This vintage is a beautiful expression of the Tinta del Pais grape, also known as Tempranillo.

The Dominio Fournier 2029 SRP $29.99 is aged 12 months in French Oak. The wine has a nice bouquet of black cherry, blackberry, and hints of baking spice. On the palate the wine is full bodied, fresh and elegant with notes of black cherry, raspberry and licorice.

As we seek comfort and warmth during the crazy weather month of March, Beronia Graciano 2020 and Dominio Fournier 2019 stand out as perfect companions. Their rich flavors, depth, and elegance not only provide a sensory escape to the sun-drenched vineyards of Spain but also remind us of the joy and warmth that good wine can bring to our lives. So, this March, curl up with a glass of these nice Spanish reds and let their stories unfold with each sip.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Petit Manseng: The Rising Star of Virginia Winemaking


Welcome to another engaging episode of Winephabet Street, where the world of wine becomes more accessible, one letter at a time. In this episode, we're delving into the letter "P" focusing on Petit Manseng, a varietal that may not be on every wine lover's radar but certainly deserves a spotlight for its distinctive qualities and growing popularity, particularly in Virginia.

Lori and I are joined by Lee Hartman from Bluestone Vineyards in Virginia, who shares his deep insights into Petit Manseng. Lee's journey in the wine industry, from his initial reluctance to his aha moment realizing the magic of winemaking, is as inspiring as it is educational. Bluestone Vineyards is nestled in the Shenandoah Valley and benefits from its unique microclimate and terroir, contributing to the distinctive character of their Petit Manseng.

Petit Manseng is a white grape variety native to Southwestern France, now gaining ground in Virginia and even Arizona. Known for its small berries and loose clusters, is celebrated for its resilience against common vineyard challenges such as mold and mildew. Its ability to thrive in Virginia's climate, retaining acidity while achieving high sugar levels, makes it an intriguing varietal for winemakers. The grape's versatility shines through in the variety of styles it can be crafted from dry to dessert wines, showcasing its broad appeal.

Lee Hartman's discussion on the challenges and rewards of working with Petit Manseng provides a fascinating glimpse into the art and science of winemaking. From the considerations in the vineyard to the decisions made in the winery, it's clear that crafting wine from Petit Manseng is a labor of love that requires patience, skill, and creativity.

As Petit Manseng gains recognition beyond Virginia, exploring this varietal offers an exciting opportunity for wine lovers to expand their palates and discover new favorites. Whether you're a seasoned wine drinker or new to the wine world, Petit Manseng's unique profile is sure to captivate and surprise.

For those eager to learn more about Petit Manseng and perhaps even taste it for themselves, Lee's invitation to visit Bluestone Vineyards is an open door to explore the beauty of Virginia wine country. As Winephabet Street continues to uncover the Winephabet of wine, Petit Manseng stands out as a memorable chapter that enriches our wine journey.

So, pour yourself a glass, settle in, and watch the webinar or listen to the podcast. 



Sunday, February 25, 2024

A Perfect Pairing: Primus The Blend 2019 and Comfort Food on a Winter Night

On a cold and damp winter night, the kind that calls for warmth and comfort both in ambiance and on the plate, we whipped up some homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese and bacon and paired it with 2019 Primus - The Blend. The Blend was a perfect companion to this meal.

About Primus

    Agustin Huneeus, a man with a profound passion for wine and an unyielding determination, founded Primus about 20 years ago. His dream was to create wines that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the best in the world. Huneeus, with his deep understanding of viticulture and winemaking, quickly recognized the potential of Chile's unique terroirs and set out to exploit them to their fullest potential.


   The winery was designed to harmonize with its surroundings, employing sustainable practices that ensure the health and vitality of the vineyards. The winery's philosophy revolves around producing wines that are a true reflection of their origin, capturing the essence of the terroir in each bottle.

Primus The Blend 2019 Vintage

    One of the crowning achievements of Primus Wines is the 2019 vintage of Primus The Blend. This exquisite wine is a testament to the winery's commitment to quality and its skill in blending different grape varieties to create a harmonious and complex wine.

Composition of the Grapes

The 2019 Primus The Blend is a “Blend” of 40% Carmenere, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, 10% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Each grape variety contributes its unique characteristics to the blend.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from Alto Maipo, the site of the first vineyard to be planted in Chile in 1541. It is considered to produce the best Cabernet Sauvignon in Chile. This provides the backbone of the blend, offering structure, tannins, and dark fruit flavors.
  • Carmenère adds depth and silkiness with its spicy and herbaceous notes.
  • Syrah provides black fruit and spice
  • Cabernet Franc adds elegance
  • Petit Verdot adds intensity and color.

The wine is rich and complex with a lovely mix of red and black fruit, ripe blackberries, hints of spice vanilla and a touch of herbaceous notes.

The wine complemented the creamy, tangy flavors of the rich tomato soup. The smokiness of the bacon hit on the spicy notes in the wine.

  The 2019 Primus The Blend transforms a simple meal into a wonderful dining experience. It's a reminder of how the right wine can turn even the simplest of meals into a celebration of flavors and moments.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Celebrate Love All Week with Albert Bichot Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Réserve

Since Valentine's Day falls mid-week this year, there's a unique opportunity to stretch the festivities beyond just one day. Rather than limiting the celebration to February 14th, why not embrace the entire week, culminating with weekend brunch? This extended celebration allows for an ongoing expression of love and appreciation, making every day feel special.

A weekend brunch allows more time to relax and enjoy each other's company without the constraints of weekday schedules. It's a perfect occasion to celebrate with a bottle of Albert Bichot Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Réserve and pair it with your brunch.

Albert Bichot, a renowned Négociant in the heart of Burgundy, France, was formed in 1831. Today, it is run by the 6th generation Alberic Bichot. They own 6 Domaines in Chablis, Cote de Nuits, Cote de Beaune, Cote Chalonnaise and Beaujolais. In addition as a Négociant, Albert Bichot sources grapes from various growers, with a hands-on approach to provide quality wines.

Albert Bichot Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Reserve is a sparkling wine made in Burgundy using the méthode champenoise . However, it comes with a much more approachable price tag, making it an excellent choice for those looking to enjoy the elegance of bubbles without breaking the bank. This affordability does not compromise quality; Crémant de Bourgogne is celebrated for its finesse and complexity, rivaling its more famous cousin Champagne.

Albert Bichot Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Reserve SRP$23.99 - A blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. The grapes come from Chatillonnais, Cote Challonnaise, and Maconnais. 90% of the wine was in stainless steel tanks and 10% aged 6 months in barrels. It then matures 18 to 20 months in the bottle. The wine has beautiful fine bubbles. Aromas of green apple, lime, and white flowers lead to a fresh and soft palate with hints of citrus and pear.

Keep the Valentine’s spirit alive into the weekend. Toast to love, life, and beautiful moments together. Remember, love is not celebrated on one day, it’s everyday and celebrate with Cremant.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Love and Lustau: A Valentine's Toast with Cream East India Solera Sherry

My first romance with Sherry was as a judge at a 3-day wine competition in New York City. The wines entered were from all over the world. On the last day, I had a flight of Sherry. I never really knew Sherry as an after-dinner drink like I knew Port. I’ll never forget the romance I felt after the first sip. I was hooked. So hooked that I didn’t let them take the glass of Sherry away as I wanted to finish it when the competition was over.

My romance didn’t end with Sherry then. I was so intrigued I enrolled in the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist course two years ago and passed with honors. I have a romance with Sherry, and I hope you have one with Sherry this Valentine’s Day.

This Valentine’s Day I suggest romancing with Lustau’s Cream East India Solera Sherry. The term “cream” signifies a blend, in this case it is a blend of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez which have matured separately in its own solera for 12 years.

After the two wines are blended together, they are aged for 3 more years in a 45-cask solera. This process is a nod to historical practices where sherry casks were sent on voyages to colonies and came back to the European ports, resulting in a smooth, silky, and complex wine.

You can pair this wine with dessert, creamy cheese, or foie gras. You can also make an East India Negroni.

Lustau Cream East India Solera Sherry SRP $29.99 - Smooth and velvety with layered notes of mushroom, raisins, figs and prunes. It is on the sweet side. Very easy to sip on while cuddling on the couch in front of the fireplace. Serve in a regular wine glass, slightly chilled. After it’s opened, store it in the refrigerator for 10 months.

East India Negroni -

.75oz Lustau East India Solera Cream Sherry

2oz aged rum

.75oz Campari

Pour into a rocks glass add ice and garnish with an orange twist.

Note: Gin can be used instead of rum.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Exploring the Unique Flavors of Orange Muscat

In December, on Winephabet Street, we learned about the Orange Muscat grape with our special guest, Andrew Quadi of Quadi Winery. Nestled in Madera, California, Andrew and his wife have been crafting exceptional wines since the late '70s, transitioning from an engineering background to the art of winemaking.

Orange Muscat, is a grape variety that boasts a fusion of orange and apricot flavors that fascinate the senses in a surprisingly delightful way. Despite its green skin, the wine reveals a captivating golden-orange hue and an irresistible aroma,

The winemaking process for Orange Muscat is a meticulous art. The grapes undergo one to two days of skin contact at a low temperature before being pressed and fermented, bringing out the unique apricot-orange flavors. Aging in French oak barrels adds to its rich, vibrant taste and golden appearance.

Its natural sweetness sets Orange Muscat apart, with grapes maturing to at least 23% sugar content. This sweetness, combined with layered fruit and floral aromas, usually leads to the creation of delightful sweet wines.

Orange Muscat can elevate your tasting experience. It pairs wonderfully with desserts, particularly those less sweet than the wine itself. Imagine it with nice creamy New York cheesecake.

Orange Muscat offers a unique and memorable experience. Its distinct taste and color make it a delightful discovery, perfect for pairing or enjoying solo.

Quady Winery 2020 Essensia Orange Muscat SRP $23.99 - Nice, slightly orange to match the name. Smooth on the palate with hints of orange and apricot. This wine is on the sweeter side but has a nice consistency on the palate. Serve slightly chilled.

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Thursday, January 25, 2024

Keeping Warm on a Cold Snowy Winters Night with Art of Earth Wines


It was a cold and snowy winter night, and I reached for Argentina's Art of Earth Wines. It’s summer in Argentina, so at least I can think of warm weather and sunshine.

Art of Earth Wines is the largest viticultural group in the world. With 29 cooperatives and 5,000 winegrowers, they manage 25,000 hectares of vineyard plantings throughout the top-growing regions of Mendoza and San Juan.

Their wines strive for a pure expression of the region, true to their origins and free of pesticides and herbicides.

Art of Earth Chardonnay SRP $11.99 - You can’t beat the price and the taste. The grapes are carefully selected and undergo vinification in stainless steel tanks with no oak. My first sip took me poolside on a warm summer day. Aromas of lime and slate. Crisp with a nice roundness on the palate shows the malolactic fermentation with a great grape expression. Juicy pineapple and tropical fruit with hints of minerality. A nice lemony finish. I served this with Shrimp and Grits, and it was a perfect meal!

Art of Earth Cabernet Sauvignon SRP $11.99 - This Cabernet Sauvignon truly reflects the region's unique terroir, characterized by the influence of the Andes Mountains and the semi-arid desert conditions. The wine undergoes vinification with controlled temperature fermentation and aging in stainless steel tanks, preserving its bold and complex flavors true to the grape. This is a drink now, wine. Lovely black currant with a hit of cocoa and spice. Straightforward drinking and a good everyday Cabernet.