Friday, January 6, 2017

Brothers in Wine

Brothers in Wine


From Michel Chapoutier comes a collaborative wine, produced with Jasper Hill owner-vintner Ron Laughton of Victoria, Australia. This wine comes from a small, old-vine vineyard planted above the Agly Valley. Biodynamic winegrowing is enhanced with organic composts (they are Ecocert-certified). About a third each of Carignan, Syrah, and Grenache are hand-picked and fermented in small cement vats. Aging in 1-3 year old French oak barrels lasts for up to 20 months. I found the 2010 to have minimal aroma, but in the mouth there were lots of dark fruit, green herbs, and an earthy midpalate into a slightly acidic finish. Love the round, almost viscous mouthfeel when first opened - according to the producers, this wine is ready to drink upon release after having been aged in bottles for at least a year.

*Wine provided for editorial purposes - all opinions are my own.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Rubio and Blanca

While I have nothing against wine being treated seriously, at the end of the day it can and should be a source of joy and at times, amusement. Enter Rubio and Blanco. Made by Renzo Masi (a family run company that has been making wine for three generations), whose mission is to produce wines with an excellent quality/price relationship. With Il Bastardo Sangiovese di Toscana and La Bastarda Pinot Grigio Terre di Siciliana both retailing for about $8, they seem to be backing up their aims.

Rubio and Blanca

Tasting Notes:
Il Bastardo Sangiovese di Toscana 2015: label inspired by sculptor Fernando Botero; 100% Sangiovese macerated on the skins in stainless steel for 10 days; cherry, blackberry and cranberry aromas, with the same showing as tastes on the palate; lighter mouthfeel with nice acidity leading into a slightly tannic finish; screw cap closure.
La Bastarda Pinot Grigio Terre di Siciliana 2015: fermented at cool temps in stainless steel; orchard fruit, honeysuckle, and citrus aromas; starfruit, subtle citrus and peach flavors; underlying saline and mineral aspects lead into a nice crisp, acidic finish; screw cap closure.
These are nice, well-priced wines that would work well as daily drinkers or at a party. While their lighter weight suggests them to be summer drinkers, the quality carries them through any time of the year.

*Wines provided for editorial purposes - all opinions are my own.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Casillero del Diablo Reserva Wines

Casillero del Diablo Reserva Wines

Casillero del Diablo has one of our favorite go-to wines. The wines got their name when Don Melchor de Concha y Toro wanted to scare off those who might try to steal his wines - he started a rumor that a devil protected his cellar and a legend was born. The Reserva line is their collection of Premium wines, spanning 12 varieties made with grapes selected from Chile's best wine valleys.

Tasting Notes:

Casillero del Diablo Reserva Wines

Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2015: Central Valley grapes; aged in American oak barrels; tart berry, dark red cherry, and cocoa aromas; dark cherry, cassis, and earthy flavors; cork closure.

Casillero del Diablo Reserva Wines

Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2016: grapes from Casablanca, Rapel (coastal) and Limari valleys; fermented in stainless steel; white grapefruit and floral aromas; lime, guava, and white peach flavors; great acid, beautiful balance; twist-off closure.

*Wines provided for editorial purposes - all opinions are mine.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Friday, December 16, 2016

Book Review - Vertical: Passion and Pinot on the Oregon Wine Trail

Book Review - Vertical: Passion and Pinot on the Oregon Wine Trail

Interestingly enough, I hadn't read Sideways, Rex Pickett's novel of wine lust, though I heartily enjoyed the movie. When I was offered a chance to review the sequel, Vertical: Passion and Pinot on the Oregon Wine Trail, I realized it would make sense to read the first book as well. So I did.

If you've read the book, you know the movie Sideways stays pretty true to the novel, though I must admit that I could not imagine casting Thomas Haden Church in the role he simply owned, as he is not the big bear of a man that Jack is in the book. In any case, both the book and movie are enjoyable on many levels and are well worth searching out if you haven't come across them before.

Vertical, the sequel, has much of the same manic energy and humor, but it plumbs depths that were only hinted at in the first book. While the group (spoiler alert: this time it's a group traveling) enjoys the expected hijinks of a trip through a wine wonderland, this time the stakes are a lot higher due to Miles being famous for Sideways. Pickett makes me want to be a famous wine author, with oodles of outstanding wine being poured left and right for my gustatory pleasure. Loads of fun.

But...there's a darker side to this novel, a slow reveal of the deep-seated problems the characters experience over the course of their road trip. This melancholy both takes away from the book's goofy hedonistic side as well as adds a much more complex level that didn't exist in Sideways. You'll have to read the book to decide whether or not the two halves merge. For me it was almost too dark in that it overshadowed the lightness of the less serious, but I'm still on the fence whether that's good or bad.

Overall, Vertical is a more thoughtful novel than Sideways. My suggestion is to get both books and read them one after another, as I did - the comparison and contrast will be more evident and you can decide for yourself whether my review hits home or not. The books would also make a great gift any time of the year.

In any case, head over to Loose Gravel Press to buy the book and read more reviews.

*This book was provided for review purposes - all opinions are my own.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel