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.

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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.

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