Friday, April 29, 2016

Summer Edition: Casillero del Diablo

Stored in Hell - Made in Heaven

We're big fans of Casillero del Diablo, so samples of new summer sippers were very welcome. Not only are the wines really tasty, but the new packaging is very attractive and festive. Definitely a good add to your wine plans for this summer!


Tasting Notes:
Rosé 2015: Shiraz, Consult, and Caremenere grapes from the Central Valley; fermented in stainless; reddish pink tending orange; raspberry, white floral and pear aromas; strawberry, tart berry, and a crisp acidic lemon finish; nice balance to this dry rosé; twist off closure; SRP $11.
Sauvignon Blanc 2015: grapes from  Casablanca, Rapel, and Limari; fermented in stainless; lovely light straw yellow; starfruit, pear, white floral and lemon aromas; lingonberry, pear, melon flavors into an acidic lemon finish; just the right touch of sweetness, great balance overall; twist off closure; SRP $11.
Wines provided for review purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

#UncorkColorado

You may not think of Colorado when it comes to wine production, but it's been made there since 1890. Colorado is now home to over 125 licensed wineries, along with more cider and mead producers, which are oddly included with wine in Colorado. There are two federally designated American Viticultural Areas (AVAs): the Grand Valley along the Colorado River and the West Elks along the North Fork of the Gunnison River. Several months ago, I got to participate in a virtual tasting, #UncorkColorado, and we tasted across a wide variety of 2015 winning entries from their state competition, the Governor's Cup. Very eye-opening, in that the range is very broad, with literally tastes across a wide spectrum. Overall I was quite surprised by the quality of these "wines."

#UncorkColorado

Tasting Notes:
Guy Drew Vineyards Colorado Sweet Riesling 2012: Montezuma Valley grapes from Russell and Yucca House Vineyards; clear light golden yellow color; lingonberry, white floral, and muskmelon aromas; dried apricot, muskmelon, and pear flavors into a honeyed lemon finish; sweet but not cloying; solid acid backbone; twist off closure; SRP $13.
Carlson Vineyards  Peach Wine: Colorado peaches; sunshine yellow color; peach, white floral, and starfruit aromas; peach, almond and subtle clementine flavors; synthetic cork closure; $13.49.
Aspen Peak Cellars  Mocha Zinsation NV: grape wine with coffee and chocolate; strong ground coffee aroma; wine into coffee into chocolate flavors; nicely balanced with good acidity; cork closure; SRP $19 (375 ml). Much better than expected, not too sweet but tastes like dessert.
Whitewater Hill Vineyards  Grand Valley Sweetheart Red 2014: Colorado grapes; light ruby red color; sweet cherry, cassis, and pomegranate aromas; cherry cola, red hibiscus, and tart red berry on the finish; sweet flavors but not syrupy; surprisingly well balanced with nice acidity; cork closure; SRP $13.
Colorado Cider Co Grasshopper-Ah: cider with hops and lemongrass; pale amber; honey and floral aromas; subtle hop intro, then yeasty apples, with a slight citrusy finish; no or minimal carbonation after initial pour; SRP $8 (650 ml).
Redstone Meadery Nectar of the Hops: 100% Colorado honey (5 parts clover honey, 1 part wildflower honey); made with Centennial and Amarillo hops; Metheglin style mead, with herbs and spices added to honey wine; light Amber color with tiny bubbles; honey, floral, and spice aromas; spiced honey into a musky floral finish; swing top cap; SRP $17 (750 ml).
Wines provided for tasting purposes by Colorado Wine - all opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wine from the Andes: Left and Right

We love comparison tastings, so were excited to receive samples from either side of the Andes: Chile and Argentina (the “right” side of the Andes, as the Argentines like to think of it). This was not a straight up comparison, as the varietals were different: Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile and Malbec from Argentina, but a pleasure in any case. Both come from well-known, high quality producers, are drinking well now, can be held for a few more years, and go great with hearty meals.

Wine from the Andes: Left and Right

Tasting Notes:
Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2014: hand picked grapes from the Puente Alto vineyard in Maipo; aged for 18 months in new (40%) and used (60%) French oak barrels; luscious ruby red; prune, smoke, and green herb aromas; dark cherry, rhubarb, tart red berries; smooth mouthfeel with touches of acidity and tannins on the finish; cork closure; SRP $26.
Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec 2013: hand harvested grapes from the Agrelo y Vistalba (Luján de Cuyo) Vineyard; cold macerated prior to fermentation in stainless steel tanks; aged in French oak barrels for 12 months; deep dark plum color with ruby highlights; dark cherry, subtle earth and red berry aromas; dark fruit, tart berry and pomegranate flavors; lots of acidity and good tannins on the finish; cork closure; SRP $21.
Wines provided for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Yellow Moon Cafe, Cobden, IL

Should you find yourself planning a trip to Southern Illinois, perhaps to visit the Shawnee National Forest or the Shawnee Wine Trail, make sure you work around the Yellow Moon Cafe's schedule. They are that good.

Yellow Moon Cafe, Cobden, IL

We have a personal connection to the family that owns the cafe, but it makes it more impressive how much we liked this restaurant, as it exceeded our hope for a friend's success. Located in downtown Cobden, this is a good hub to explore the Shawnee Wine Trail (12 Illinois wineries) along with the surrounding state parks and National Forest.

We stopped in for lunch, which focuses primarily on sandwiches (make sure to try the roast beef, not only because it's an amazing sandwich, but because it features the family's grass-fed beef), with soup and salads available as well. Local beers and wines are available (along with national brands, but why would you?), along with locally made desserts (we recommend the lavender cheesecake and pecan tarts, if they are available, along with the hand-churned ice cream). The food is sourced as locally and as sustainably as possible, which means you're not only eating healthier, but you're supporting the local economy as well.

Yellow Moon Cafe, Cobden, IL

A funky, comfortable vibe makes this an excellent place to hang out, chat with the many locals housetop by (the family knows everyone, it is a small town after all), and look at a revolving gallery of artists hung on the walls, most of which you can buy to take home. Weekends include an option for dinner and occasional live music.

Open (at this time) for lunch Wednesday-Saturday and dinner Friday-Sunday; check out the cafe's website to make sure they're open before you go.

Yellow Moon Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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