2006 Santenay Bouchard Pere & Fils

2006 Santenay Bouchard Pere & Fils

2006 Santenay Bouchard Pere & FilsPale ruby in the glass but with an earthy, deep ripe cherry nose. The palate of this medium-bodied wine is of cherry/juicy berry flavors and some mineral notes. Smooth, silky texture and an earthy/mushroomy finish.

This southern Cote de Beaune wine was uncorked at my father’s home in Quebec and could be difficult to find.

Pairings: Roasted poultry, grilled salmon, mushroom risotto.

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): Pinot Noir

Region: Cote de Beaune, Burgundy, France

Price: $25

2013 Ken Wright Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

2013 Ken Wright Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Ken Wright 2013Fruity, spiced nose, bright red in the glass. The palate of this medium-bodied wine is rich with cherry/tart berry flavors and some peppery notes. Smooth, silky texture and a slightly-peppery finish.

This wine is a blend of grapes from blocks of Ken Wright’s best single vineyard sites.

Pairings: Roasted poultry, grilled salmon, mushroom risotto.

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): Pinot Noir

Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA

Price: $23

Top Rosé Wines for the Summer

Top Rosé Wines for the Summer

Rose WinesSummer’s finally here and warm days are among us. While sipping rosé wines during the summer isn’t anything new, what I’m really enjoying is how food-friendly rosés have become. Rosé, French for ‘pink’, describes a genre of refreshing wines, in various hue of pink and that are made using red grapes.

Here are some rosé wines I’ve sampled recently that range in price from value to special occasions.

  • 2015 Los Vascos Rosé ($13.99) – Bright, pale pink color. On the nose, aromas of strawberries, raspberries, cherries and pomegranates underscored by white chocolate and sugar syrup. The palate is fresh, balanced and persistent. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah.
  • Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé Cremant D’Alsace ($22) – Coral/pink in color with fine and small bubbles. Light strawberry intensity with a hint of yeast. Juicy strawberry continues with a hint of sweetness that’s balanced by bright acidity. Creamy yet crisp mouthfeel.
  • 2014 Tavel Rosé, Prieuré de Montézargues ($23.99) – Bright pink in the glass, this Rhone valley rosé offers big strawberry aromas and strawberry/raspberry flavors with just a touch of citrus. 55% Grenaches (red & white), 30% Cinsault, 13% Clairette, 2% others.
  • Pierre Sparr Crémant D’Alsace Brut Rosé NV ($15.99) – Bright pink in the glass with strawberry aromas that carry over in the mouth. Laced with citrus and a little clove, Creamy and silky texture with nice level of acidity and a clean, dry finish. 100% Pinot Noir.
  • 2015 Domaine du Gros Noré Bandol Rosé ($26.99) – This rosé is salmon-colored in the glass and offers aromas of ripe peach with floral notes. Lovely delicate flavors of juicy melon and a nice level of acidity on the finish. 40% Mourvèdre, 20% Grenache, 40% Cinsault.
  • 2015 Wilde Farm Rosé North Coast ($29.99) – Dark pink in the glass, this wine has citrus and floral aromas and ripe pear/peach flavors. Bit of sweetness then a perfect pop of acidity on the finish. Very limited quantities, but worth the search. 100% Dolcetto.
  • 2014 Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé ($35.99) – Intense floral nose with a bit of strawberry. It has incredible peaches and juicy, ripe cantaloupe flavors with bright acidity and a long pleasantly dry finish. 50% Mourvèdre, 28% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 2% Carignan.
  • Champagne Drappier Brut Rosé ($54.99) – Bright orangey-pink in the glass, this is some of the best pink champagne I’ve tasted of late. Floral and red berry aromas with raspberry flavors laced with pumpkin pie spice and yeasty notes. Fresh, crisp, delicious. 100% Pinot Noir.

What are some of your favorite rosé wines? Have you tried any of the above? Please let me and other readers know.

Cheers,

Veronique

2012 Evesham Wood Le Puits Sec Pinot Noir

2012 Evesham Wood Le Puits Sec Pinot Noir

2012 Evesham Wood “Le Puits Sec” Pinot NoirThe 2012 Evesham Wood Le Puits Sec Pinot Noir is just a lovely, lovely Pinot Noir.

In the glass, it’s dark raspberry in color. The nose is of dark, ripe berries and cherry with some peppery notes. Hard to stop sniffing to take that first sip! This medium-bodied Oregon Pinot Noir offers raspberry and stone fruit flavors laced with some peppery sweet notes on the velvety finish. Blind tasters could easily be fooled into thinking this was a Burgundy.

Pairings: Duck, roasted poultry, grilled salmon.

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): Pinot Noir

Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA

Price: $45.99

Getting to Know Gigondas Wines

Getting to Know Gigondas Wines

GigondasA couple weeks ago, I attended a wine tasting focused on Gigondas wines. I’m not well-versed on these wines so really enjoyed the 10 wines we sampled and the open discussion from the group.

About Wines of Gigondas (Wikipedia):

“Gigondas is a French wine Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the southern Rhône wine region of France. It is primarily a Red wine region, with a very small amount of rosé wine produced. No white wines carry the Gigondas appellation. Being a little brother of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the wine is moderately prestigious and can yield beautiful results when treated with care. Gigondas AOC wine is produced exclusively in the commune of Gigondas, in Vaucluse”.

Here are three of the wines we sampled that were my favorites along with my tasting notes.

2012 Domaine du Cayron ($35) – This wine was bright ruby in the glass. Big raspberry aromas with earthy notes. On the palate, this medium-bodied Rhone wine offered intense red fruit, black pepper and a bit of stone fruit flavors. Low to medium tannins, dry medium finish. 

2003 Domaine Santa Duc ($30) – This wine’s best days were likely behind it but it still offered nice dark raspberry aromas with dark berry continuing on the palate but not in a powerful way. Tobacco, leather and pepper were still present on the finish but not in a powerful way like the others in the tasting did.

2010 Pierre Henri Morel ($30) – This wine was dark purple in the glass. Big dark berry aroma with woodsy, leather notes. On the palate there were big cassis/blackberry/stone fruit flavors with a bit of pepper and pumpkin pie spice on the medium finish.  

There are two things to keep in mind with Gigondas wines: 1) let them age or decant the heck out of them 2) drink them with food, they need it and will be at their deliciousness apex with it.

Cheers,

Veronique

2010 Okto Lyrarakis Wines Red Wine

2010 Okto Lyrarakis Wines Red Wine

2010 Okto Red WineDeep ruby color in the glass. Red berry and tart cherries on the nose that carry over to the palate. Light tannins and good acidity. Spicy/sweet finish.

Pairings: Grilled red meat, game, hard cheeses.

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): Blend of Syrah, Kotsifali and Mandilari

Region: Crete, Greece

Price: $12

1994 Chateau Troplong Mondot Grand Cru

1994 Chateau Troplong Mondot Grand Cru

1994 Chateau Troplong Mondot Grand CruIn the glass, the 1994 Chateau Troplong Mondot Grand Cru is the darkest of ruby with a bit of brick notes from the age of the wine. It was difficult to stop sniffing the spice-laced berry aromas to move on to take a sip – lovely, lovely nose. The palate offers berry, plummy and licorice driven with a roundness on the finish which offers just a bit of minerality.

This medium-bodied wine is likely near its peak with great structure and balance. I thank my friend Harry for sharing this beauty with us.

Pairings: Grilled meat, cheese course.

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): Red Bordeaux Blend

Region: Bordeaux, France

Price: $65

5 Affordable Wines for 4th of July Parties

Wine in ParcSummer’s here and so are warm days and humidity. What summer also means is fun-filled gatherings, including 4th of July get-togethers.

Here is a list of five wines to pour during your 4th of July celebrations that are affordable and certain to please your guests:

Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé Cremant D’Alsace ($22): This lovely bubbly is coral/pink in color with the tiniest of bubbles. Light strawberry aromas with juicy, slightly sweet strawberry flavors that’s balanced by bright acidity. Serve this bubbly as your guests arrive to create a festive atmosphere.

2014 Two Lands Pinot Grigio ($14): Light and crisp with Meyer lemon flavors that finish on a zesty note. Nice summer sipper and great as an aperitif and with crudités.

2013 Esporao Vinha da Defesa Rosé ($15): This festive, bright pink wine is super food-friendly. Intense red berry and cherry aromas with bright fruity flavors. Perfect for a seafood boil and the cornucopia of flavors at a BBQ.

2013 Egger Ramer Schiava Gentile ($15): Fragrant with red berry aromas with ripe strawberry and cherry flavors. Great acidity making this wine very versatile with summer foods. Pair with charcuterie platter or even hot dogs.

Montes 2012 Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon ($15): Deep ruby in the glass, this wine offers blackberry aromas with notes of mocha and leather. It’s full-bodied and big on dark fruit and ripe raspberries with a nice touch of oak. This is your steaks/ribs/burgers wine.

Enjoy these summer wines and let me know if you try any of them!

Cheers,

Veronique

 

Unexpected Napa Valley Wine Tasting

Unexpected Napa Valley Wine Tasting

Unexpected NapaThis week, I was invited to explore unexpected wines from Napa Valley via a virtual tasting. I’ve explained the idea of virtual wine tastings in previous posts but for those who are new to the concept, here’s how they go:

  • Get wine in the varietal or brand being sampled.
  • Invite some friends to try the wine(s) and experience with you (or do as I typically do – put some yoga pants on and enjoy from the couch with iPad, iPhone and laptop handy).
  • Drink and share your thoughts about the wine(s) with other wine fans from around the world using the established hashtag on Twitter and/or Facebook (in this case #SipWithKaren).

In this case, the Karen mentioned in the hashtag was wine expert, Karen MacNeil. The virtual tasting was of six unexpected Napa Valley wines, including unoaked Chardonnay, Albariño from Carneros, an affordable Cabernet Sauvignon, and more.

Here are the wines sampled:

2013 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Chenin Blanc ($25)

Varieties: 100% Chenin Blanc

Pale yellow in appearance. Offers an Asian pear nose with a bit of sweetness. Offers tropical fruit flavors with citrus notes on the palate. Would be great served as an aperitif but also with shellfish on a warm summer evening. Only 187 cases produced – get your hands on this wine quickly.

2013 Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Fumé Blanc ($17)

Varieties: 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Sémillon

Fragrant ripe cantaloupe and juicy mandarin aromas. Lightly grassy, lime flavors with more cantaloupe on the palate. Long finish with the 10% Semillon making this wine interesting and complex.

2014 Artesa Napa Valley Albariño ($28)

Varieties: 100% Albariño

Less “in your face” with minerality than its Spanish kin. Lovely bright peach and Meyer lemon aromas with some floral notes. Peach and a bit of plum on the palate. Light oaky notes on a long finish.

2013 Alpha Omega Unoaked Napa Valley Chardonnay ($33)

Varieties: 100% Chardonnay

Wish they’d make more than 500 cases! Clean, crisp, not your daddy’s Cali Chard (in a good way). Slightly creamy mouthfeel. I need to remember this wine when I host this year’s lobsterfest.

2012 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($29)

Varieties: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec

Truly a classic Cali Cab and the stuff that made Robert Mondavi famous in the wine world. Enticing dark berry nose. Rich ripe berry flavors with a long, chocolate-kissed finish. 30% is from historic To Kalon vineyard in and 14% comes from Wappo Hill Vineyard in the Stag’s Leap district.

2010 St. Supéry Estate Vineyard & Winery Dollarhide Ranch Napa Valley

Petit Verdot ($50)

Varieties: 97% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon

Dark purple-red in the glass. Slightly tart berries and stone fruit nose. Big blackberry flavors with peppery notes. Get the grill out, this is what steaks are made to be paired with. 590 cases made.

For those of you who have stereotyped California wines as fruit bombs and butter in a glass (silly people), these are great examples of the unexpected, vibrant and delicious wines California has to offer.

Cheers,

Veronique

Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé Cremant D’Alsace

Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé Cremant D’Alsace

Lucien Albrecht Cremant D'Alsace Brut RoseI’m a big fan of anything Lucien Albrecht wines and highly-recommend you familiarize yourself with them.

Appearance: Coral/pink in color with fine and small bubbles.

Nose: Light strawberry intensity with a hint of yeast.

Palate: Juicy strawberry continues with a hint of sweetness that’s balanced by bright acidity. Creamy yet crisp mouthfeel.

Assessment of quality: Lovely wine with a good balance of sweetness and acidity with a medium finish.

Readiness for drinking/potential for ageing: drink now, not intended for ageing.

Approximate retail price: $22.

Region of origin Alsace, France

Grape Type(s): Pinot Noir

Pairings: Grilled chicken. Spicy dishes. Seafood.

Style: Rosé Wine

Region: Alsace, France

Price: $22

This wine was provided to me for sampling and I am adding it to my repertoire as it’s truly enjoyable.