Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Vivanco: Sharing Wine Culture

Vivanco: Sharing Wine Culture

Located in Briones, La Rioja in northern Spain, the Vivanco organization consists of a winery, museum, and foundation. Third generation Pedro Vivanco was one of Spain’s first certified winemakers and is joined by his sons, Rafael the winemaker and Santiago running the museum and foundation. One of the things I really appreciate is that Vivanco makes wines using only native grapes vinified using traditional techniques, and presented in a bottle inspired in an original eighteenth-century bottle that is on exhibit at the Vivanco Museum of the Culture of Wine. The original building, a new, state-of-the-art winery, museum, educational center, tasting room, and restaurant sit on top of a naturally temperature-controlled underground cellar that can hold 3,500 barrels. Wow.

Tasting Notes:
Viura-Tempranillo Blanco-Maturana Blanca 2016: handpicked from estate vineyards; 50% Viura/35% Tempranillo Blanco/15% Maturana Blanca; Tempranillo Blanco and Maturana Blanca, an indigenous, minority white grapes that are exclusive to the DOCa Rioja; each grape variety is vinified separately on its lees for 4 months in stainless steel; floral, citrus, and orchard fruit aromas; pear, banana, and citrus fruit flavors; nicely balanced with some forward acidity making for a crisp and refreshing drink; synthetic cork closure.
Reserva 2010 Seleción de Familia: handpicked 90% Tempranillo/10% Graciano; each grape variety is vinified separately; aged 2 years in French and American oak barrels; smoky earth, dark fruit, and red berry aromas; plum, vanilla, sweet red fruit, and spice flavors; good balance between tannins and acidity and should age well for another 5-10 years; cork closure.
The eye-catching bottle and unique labels certainly catch ones attention, but the fantastic wines inside are what will make you a fan.

*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

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Cockburn’s Special Reserve Port

"Take top quality grapes (trodden)
and plenty of seasoned wood barrels.
Lay aside to rest. Then just add Time."

Cockburn’s Special Reserve Port

I'm a huge fan of port and, while many think of this drink as imbibed by old men puffing on cigars, Port has undergone a sea change in the last 50 years or so. Gone are the days when the only option was a vintage Port, declared only in exceptional years and expensive. Founded in 1815 by Scotsman Robert Cockburn, Cockburn’s (pronounced “Cō~burns”) is one of the oldest port houses, today owned by Symington Family Estates Cockburn’s family of ports now includes Special Reserve, Vintage Port, Anno (Late Bottled Vintage) and Quinta dos Canais (Single Quinta Vintage), Fine Ruby, Fine Tawny, and 10- and 20-year-old Tawnies. Wow. In 2015, Cockburn's celebrated 200 years of winemaking, which is really impressive.

Cockburn’s Special Reserve was created in 1969 to fill the gap between ruby port and vintage port. Ruby ports are aged for less time and are ready to drink sooner. Reserve ports are aged slightly longer at 4-5 years in large barriques and also are ready to drink on release. Cockburn’s invented the reserve port category, and it is now one of the most popular ports.

Tasting Notes:
Grapes from vineyards at Quinta dos Canais; hand-picked: pressed by foot treading ('pisa' in Portugal); fermented and aged in oak barrels made by the company’s coopers; red berry, cherry and red plum aromas; similar flavors with a slight sweetness and spice; smooth mouthfeel with just a bit of burn from the higher alcohol content (20%); cork closure; SRP $18/750 mL.
Wonderful to drink on its own, Cockburn's suggests pairing this port with nutty desserts, chocolate, fruit and strong cheeses. Don't worry about opening the bottle for a single glass (if you can limit yourself) - the wine will stay good for up to six weeks once you’ve opened it.

*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

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Adler Fels Winery

Founded in Sonoma Valley in 1979 by David and Ayn Coleman and perching high on a crest in the Mayacamas Mountains, Adler Fels (German for “Eagle Rock”) has views of vineyards in Sonoma to Napa and beyond. In 2016, they announced that they had updated their brand with new wines and new packaging. Winemakers Aaron Bader and Linda Trotta continue the tradition of making the wines from top grape growers who have worked with the winery for as many as three generations.

Adler Fels Winery

Tasting Notes:
2014 Pinot Noir: 76% Santa Rita Hills/24% Russian River Valley grapes; cassis, spices, and pepper aromas; black cherry and cassis flavors into a tart red berry finish; light bodied but well-balanced; 1,500 cases produced; SRP $27.99.
2015 Chardonnay, 50% Russian River Valley/50% Monterey County; Meyer Lemon, apple, and melon aromas; tropical fruit, honeyed almond, and toast flavors into a lemony finish; pleasing mouthfeel, well-balanced, and a pleasure to drink; 1,000 cases produced; SRP $19.99.
*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

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Weekend At Turkey Run State Park

People primarily go to Turkey Run State Park to hike, and it's set up well for that. From the parking lot, where the Nature Center is located, a long and tall suspension bridge takes you across Sugar Creek to the more demanding trails in the park. Maps for the trails (and park in general) are handed out when entering ($9 for out-of-staters at the time of this posting) or in the Nature Center. Make sure you get one, because the trails are well-marked with sign posts, but it's still easy to get turned around when you are out there. I hiked this with our six year old and, while he's a gamer, none of the hikes were overly difficult for him (though he did tire about halfway through our second day).

A Weekend At Turkey Run State Park

We spent two days hiking the Park. On the first day we hiked Trails 3 and 10 and back on 3 - 3 has ladders and stairs and plenty of canyon time, while 10 meanders flatly through the forest. If you're reasonably fit, we highly recommend Trail 3 above the others, if you can only choose one. The second day we hike Trail 3 (ladders again!), briefly on Trail 5, then Trail 9. Trail 5 from Trail 3 starts with 140 stairs up the side of the hill, beautiful but taxing. Trail 9 was the most technical of the ones we hiked, with a lot of scrambling over boulders and so forth. There is a beautiful waterfall on this trail we hadn't heard about and that made the more difficult trek worth it for sure. Back onto Trail briefly, then the return to the bridge along Trail 3 made for a nice long hike.

A Weekend At Turkey Run State Park

While you can camp or find lodging outside the park, the Turkey Run Inn is on site, which makes it very convenient. Built in 1919, it has undergone expansions and renovations over the years. It's in reasonable shape, with some mustiness here and there, but overall clean and well-run.

The Narrows restaurant is onsite at Turkey Run Inn and, unfortunately, is only okay. Décor is dated and uninspired, but the restaurant feels clean. We ate both breakfast and dinner there, opting for the buffet option both times (Sunday we didn't have an option due to a holiday). The food tastes like it was provided by an outside food company like Aramark or Sysco. Nothing wrong with that, but not overly interesting, creative, or flavorful. I wish we'd opted for the pizza option, which can be eaten either in the restaurant or taken out - they looked and smelled great.
The Narrows Restaurant at Turkey Run State Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Weekend At Turkey Run State Park

If you don't want to hike, or want to supplement that activity, the park does offer an outdoor pool during warmer weather, picnic areas, and other recreational activities. Next time we come back we plan on canoeing or kayaking Sugar creek or trying out the park's horseback riding.

How to get there: Turkey Run State Park is about 160 miles South of Chicago, IL an about 70 miles West of Indianapolis, IN.


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