Thursday, October 23, 2014

Scarily Good Wines: Casillero del Diablo

Scarily Good Wines: Casillero del Diablo

Casillero del Diablo is perfect for the "Official Wine of Halloween" - stored in hell, made in heaven. We're big fans of their wines, always tasty and not too expensive ($11 SRP for the Reserve Collection, though we usually get it for even less than that). As a daily wine, their varietals are sure to go with the food we pair it with, without fail.

Casillero del Diablo: Wine Legend video

This fall, they are running a Legendary Costume Contest: easy to enter, with a DSLR camera and more as the prizes. Watch the video above, take a costumed photo that best represents the Casillero del Diablo theme, like their Facebook page, and enter. Entries accepted through November 9th, winner announced on December 1st.

Enter now!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In the Cellar: 1985 Volnay

1985 Moillard Clos des Chênes, Volnay Premier Cru

I am flat out horrible about cellaring wine - one, because I can't really afford too much that is worth cellaring and two, I'm too impatient to wait. I do have a few bottles, however, that I've managed not to drink and they sit in the bottom bin of my wine cooler, hopefully happily aging to their full potential. One of the wines is a bottle of 1985 Moillard Clos des Chênes, Volnay Premier Cru I liberated from my father-in-law's basement a few years ago. I actually grabbed two, one of which we tasted about 2 years ago:
"Very dark, deep red color. A violet nose, common for these wines, along with some faint strawberry. Good tannin structure, with more floral and berry flavors in the mouth, with a lingering finish."
Pretty basic tasting notes, but it was definitely holding up well, surprising in that they never did anything special for their wine storage, just stuck it in the basement in the original wooden crates and then pulled them out on occasion.

Not sure when this will be pulled out for consumption, it's always a difficult decision to drink one of my "special" wines, usually reserved for an anniversary or New Year's or the like.

How do you decide when to drink a special wine?

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Uncorked Ventures Wine Club

Uncorked Ventures Wine Club

Nothing better than the gift of wine, unless the wine comes with additional items you pick based on the themes of savory and sweet gourmet, chocolate, or the refined and elegant, all packed in a beautiful wooden crate. Brothers-in-law Mark Aselstine and Matt Krause of Uncorked Ventures go treasure-hunting in California, Oregon and Washington wine country to bring you the very best wines that few people have ever heard of. Mark (@WineClubGuy) and I connected on Twitter, and after bantering back and forth for a long time, he sent me a few bottles to try out.

Tasting Notes:
Cinque Insieme ("Five Together") 2011 Dry Creek Valley Grenache: transparent garnet with ruby highlights; shy on the nose: a bit of cassis, earth, herbal notes; cassis, blackberry, red berry and dusty dark plum flavors; luscious mouthfeel, beautiful balance, with a slight tannic finish promising at least a few years of drinking pleasure; 15.24% ABV; cork closure; 300 bottles produced; SRP $24 (no longer available through winery).
VinRoc Wine Caves 2009 Napa Valley Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon: Deep purple-black in color, totally opaque; tar, smoke, licorice and black fruit aromas; black cherry cola, dark fruit, currant, mocha, spice and licorice flavors; luscious mouthfeel with a mineral and spice finish;14.5% ABV; cork closure; SRP $98. This wine is all about muscular character, sense of place, ageability, and in your face power, tons of depth and richness, tannins that are mellow enough for drinking now, but integrated enough to make this a wine that will reward patience in the cellar. With apologies to Queen and a fully intended pun, this wine will Roc you.VinRoc takes its name from the rock strewn mountain vineyard and rock hewn wine cave.
These two wines are great examples of what treasure-hunting will do, when executed with passion. While totally different in feel and price, both are well-made examples of their respective genres. Uncorked Ventures should be a wine club that you are inspired to try out.

These wines were provided for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Drink Local Wine Week: Wollersheim Winery

Wollersheim Winery 2013 Prairie Fumé

It's the national Drink Local Wine Week! Sitting as we are at the junction of three states (Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, with Michigan not far), we feel like the local wine scene has quite a bit of variety, though we're not so sure of the quality every time. However, it's still important to support the locals, and this week was a nice reminder to do just that. After plans to visit some local wineries fell through this past weekend for sundry reasons, it was off to the local wine shops to explore their offerings. Unfortunately, slim pickings. I wasn't really in the mood for fruit wine (snobby, I know), nor a holiday-themed flavored wine (Halloween wine anyone?), but happily I spied one bottle of wine from Wisonsin's Wollersheim Winery. I've tried a red from them and was pleasantly surprised, so a white made from a hybrid grape we've enjoyed before from other producers seemed like a safe bet.
"In 1972, Robert and JoAnn Wollersheim purchased the winery farm property from Peter Kehl’s great grandson with the intention of restoring it to a working family winery. The hillside slopes were again planted with vineyards, the underground wine cellars were refurnished with oak barrels, and the main floor of one of the buildings was converted into a store to make Wollersheim wine available for visitors."
Tasting Notes

2013 Prairie Fumé: 100% Seyval Blanc; cold fermented, stopped fermentation to maintain residual sweetness; super light yellow color; white floral, lemon, and subtle green melon aromas; bit of green apple, green melon, and lemon flavors into a honeyed stone fruit finish; nicely balanced, with some acidity to counter the sweetness; 10% ABV; twist-off closure; SRP $15, paid $12 at the local wine store. Inspired by crisp Sauvignon Blancs, this wine made from a hybrid grape that is slightly sweeter than a typical Sauvignon Blanc is a very nice effort, well done.

After some further research, it turns out that the grapes for this wine were grown in New York state, so while the winery is local, the grapes are not. This was not noted on the bottle labels, though "American Seyval Blanc" could have been a clue. A real bummer that Midwest wineries are still doing this.

How did YOU celebrate Drink Local Wine Week?!

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