2013 Domaine Barons de Rothschild Aruma Malbec

2013 Domaine Barons de Rothschild Aruma Malbec

2013 Aruma MalbecAruma means “night” in the language of the Quechua, the native Indian population of the Mendoza region. The name is appropriate for this deep purple/red wine from Mendoza. Big floral and red fruit aromas. In the mouth, this medium-bodied Malbec is velvety with licorice and dried cherry flavors and peppery notes. Long finish with firm tannins.

Nice, drinkable-now Malbec for a great price.

Pairings: Barbecued ribs and chicken. Red pasta sauce. Burgers or pizza.

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): Malbec

Region: Mendoza, Argentina

Price: $15

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

WITS Virtual Wine Tasting 2014

WITS Virtual Wine Tasting 2014

WITS WinesI’ve explained the concept of virtual wine tasting in other posts and I enjoy participating in a few of them each year. Last night was the Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) and a virtual tasting hosted by my friends at WineTwits of six California wines.

For those of you who are new to virtual wine tastings, this is what it entails:

  • Get a bottle of the wine varietal or brand being featured in the virtual tasting.
  • Invite fellow wine enthusiasts to join you to share the tasting, or simply snuggle solo in your pajamas in front of the computer.
  • Swirl, sniff, sip then share your wine thoughts with other global tasters using the designated hashtag on Twitter and Facebook!

The virtual tasting was well-attended and the wineries whose wines we sampled were very active with the virtual tasters. Cheers to Kendall-Jackson, Jamieson Ranch Vineyard, Franciscan Estate, Wente VineyardsGarnet Vineyards and Renwood Winery for interacting with us to the extent they did. I’ll follow up and connect with dozens of new wine friends today as a result of last night’s tasting.

Here are my tasting notes from the featured wines:

2012 Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay

For those of us who enjoy moderately-oaky Chardonnay, this is a nice option. 50% of this wine was barrel-fermented in French oak and the other 50% was fermented in stainless steel tanks creating a wine that’s not overly oaky/buttery and has some fruit freshness to it.

Aromas of Asian apple and lychee jump out of the glass. In the mouth, the 2012 Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay is medium-bodied with Meyer lemon and tropical fruit flavors. Finish lingers with some oaky notes and a nice level of acidity.

Pairings: Roast chicken, salmon, pasta in light creamy sauce

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): Chardonnay

Region: Livermore Valley, CA, USA

Price: $13

2012 Garnet Vineyards Monterey County Pinot Noir

Garnet pinot noirs have garnered rave reviews over the years and the 2012 Monterey County Pinot’s no exception. The wine is a tad more transparent in the glass than I would have suspected, it doesn’t lack in aroma and flavor. On the nose, the strawberry aroma is more prominent that the expected cherry. In the mouth, it’s silky and there’s lovely cherry flavor with notes of vanilla and oak.

Pairings: Roasted duck, chicken or turkey, mushroom dishes

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): Pinot Noir

Region: Monterey County, CA, USA

Price: $14.99

2011 Renwood Winery Premier Old Vine Zinfandel

This is a big, beautiful baby. I really enjoy this style of Zin. It’s a big mouthful of dark, ripe berries with mocha and a bit of pumpkin spices on the finish.

Pairings: Barbecue ribs, grilled beef or lamb

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): Zinfandel

Region: Amador County, CA, USA

Price: $19.99

2011 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Leggy in the glass with ripe berry aromas with a bit of oak and pepper. Rich and bold with mocha and dark chocolate layers. Light tannins, elegant, long finish.

Pairings: Grilled meats

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): 94.8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4.4% Petit Verdot, 0.5% Merlot, 0.2% Cabernet Franc

Region: Sonoma County, CA, USA

Price: $28

2011 Jamieson Ranch “Double Lariat” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Gorgeous deep-red in the glass, this wine offers red berry aromas with complex licorice, spice and leather notes. Cherry and dark berry flavors abound with light-jammy fig and mocha notes – touch of oak on the long, velvety finish.

Pairings: Grilled beef, cheese plate

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): Cabernet Sauvignon

Region: Napa Valley, CA, USA

Price: $55

2011 Franciscan Estate Magnificat Napa Valley

Inky in the glass with fabulous dark berry and stone fruit aromas. The dark berry continues on the palate with ripe cherry mixed in – rich, elegant with a long, round finish from the Merlot.

Pairings: Barbecue ribs, grilled beef or lamb

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, and 3% Malbec

Region: Napa Valley, CA, USA

Price: $50

For those of you on Twitter, search for #WITS2014 and see all the fun conversations folks had during the virtual tasting. You’ll likely find interesting wine fans to connect with.

Cheers,

Veronique

Bridge Lane Wines by North Fork’s Lieb Cellars

Bridge Lane Wines by North Fork’s Lieb Cellars

Bridge Lane is Lieb Cellars’ second-label and through a rebranding for its 10th vintage, the white and red blends are available in bottles, in 3 liter bag-in-box (equivalent of 4 bottles) and also in disposable kegs.

The popular North Fork, NY winery says there were three reasons why Bridge Lane opted for the unusual formats:

  1. They’re eco-friendly.
  2. They preserve the wine.
  3. They’re cheaper than glass bottles.

I sampled both wines in their boxes formats – 100% recyclable plastic bag and spout and 100% recyclable cardboard box. Boxes cost $46 and have a lifespan of about 6 weeks after opening.

The keg format would be ideal for a summer casual party as it’s the equivalent of 26 bottles for an affordable $260. If tapped with a professional wine certified kegerator, it’ll last about 2 months. If tapped using a college-type party pump, it’ll last 2 days.

2013 Bridge Lane White Blend2013 Bridge Lane White Blend

I was a bit pessimistic about this wine prior to sipping it, but was pleasantly-surprised by its light yet pleasant flavor and its dryness that made it perfect as a summer sipper but was also nice with light food. Also was great that I could have a glass on a Tuesday night without having to commit to a full bottle.  

Medium-yellow with light green hue in the glass, the 2013 Bridge Lane White Blend is light-bodied and nearly completely dry. The nose is light with some green apple and citrus notes. On the palate, this white wine from Long Island offers lemon/lime and floral flavors with a dry, flinty finish.

I served this as an aperitif but it held up nicely to Prosciutto and mango starter.  

Pairings: Fish, shellfish, light salad, aperitif.

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): 29% Chardonnay, 26% Pinot Blanc, 18% Riesling, 14% Viognier, 9% Sauvignon Blanc, 4% Gewürtzaminer.

2012 Bridge Lane Red Blend2013 Bridge Lane Red Blend

After enjoying the white blend, I was more open-minded when I sampled the red blend. The 2013 Bridge Land Red Blend is purplish red in the glass with faint cherry aromas. This North Fork dry red wine is medium-bodied with the cherry carrying on to the palate along with some pumpkin pie spice on the finish. The Merlot gives this wine some roundness.

Pairings: Pizza, casual barbecue, summer sipper for those who prefer reds.

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): 46% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petit Verdot, and 5% Malbec.

Where to Find Bridge Lane

Go online: Bridge Lane wines are available through www.BridgeLaneWine.com  or www.Amazon.com.

Hit the East End: Visit any of Lieb Cellars’ three tasting rooms on Long Island’s North and South Forks.

Stop by your favorite retailer or restaurant in the NY Metro area: Don’t see Bridge Lane? Ask for them!

Fly away: Enjoy a glass of Bridge Lane before you jet from JFK: Terminal 4 at Blue Smoke on the Road; Terminal 5 at 5ive Steak, AeroNuova and Deep Blue restaurants; and Terminal 8 at Vino Volo restaurant and retail store.

Cheer for the Mets: Bridge Lane wines are served at NYC’s Citi Field.

Pop over to PA: Purchase wines at PLCB stores, Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

As of May 2014, Bridge Lane wines will also be available in wine shops and restaurants in NJ, CT and MA.

Cheers,

Veronique

These wines were provided to me for sampling and I am adding them to my repertoire as they’re truly enjoyable.

2012 Graffigna Centenario Elevation Red Blend

2012 Graffigna Centenario Elevation Red Blend

2012 Graffigna Centenario Elevation Red BlendYes, this is a $10 wine. No, it shouldn’t be disregarded based on cost as it drinks well beyond its price.

In the glass, it’s inky and really handsome. The grapes in this blend complement each other so well with jammy stone fruit flavors mixing with dark berry and cherry ones. This wine screams for food and I served it with a pork crown roast which was a great pairing. Slightly tannic on the finish with ripe, dark fruit that lingers on the palate.

Pairings: Grilled meat, tomato sauce-based dishes, roast pork or poultry.

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): 20% Bonarda, 20% Cabernet Saugivnon, 20% Malbec, 20% Syrah, 20% Tannat

Region: Tulum Valley, Argentina

Price: $10

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

Chilean Red Wine Blends – Virtual Tasting

Chilean Red Wine Blends – Virtual Tasting

Wines of Chile hosted a #WineChat event on Twitter on Wednesday, October 16. Sort of like a new world wines meets new technology.

I’ve explained the idea of virtual wine tastings in previous posts but for those of you who are new to virtual wine tastings, this is what the story is:

  • Get a bottle of the wine varietal or brand being featured.
  • Invite friends to share the wine and experience with you (or snuggle in your pajamas in front of the computer if you prefer).
  • Sip and share your thoughts about the wine(s) with other tasters around the world using the designated hashtag on Twitter and/or Facebook!

Here are my tasting notes from the three featured wines – 2011 Montes Twins Malbec / Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Santa Rita Triple C Red Blend and 2011 Los Vascos Grand Reserve:

2011 Montes Twins Malbec / Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Montes TwinsGreat dark fruit, richness and structure from the Cab and silky roundness from the Malbec. Little vanilla on the finish from the oak. Nice Colchagua Valley wine for the price.

Pairings: Roast chicken, mushroom pizza, burger

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): 50% Malbec, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon

Price: $18

2011 Los Vascos Grand Reserve

2011 Los Vascos Grand ReserveThis Chilean wine is bright with cherries and stone fruit. It’s intense, has a nice level of acidity and a fruity finish with black licorice notes.

Pairings: Duck, seared salmon, pork

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Carménère, 10% Syrah, 5% Malbec

Price: $15

2007 Santa Rita Triple C Red Blend

2007 Santa Rita Triple C This Maipo Valley, Bordeaux-style blend has a lot going on for it. The 2007 Santa Rita Triple C combines the elegance of the old world grapes with new world winemaking techniques.Definitely not the typical Chilean red wine. Tons of earthy, smoky, leathery aromas with less blackberry than ripe currant that I’d expected. Deep, complex, interesting. Decant!

Pairings: Grilled meat, mushroom dishes

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): 55% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Carménère

Price: $34

I’ve been a fan of Chilean wines and these three bottles that were sent to me as samples are being added to my repertoire.

Cheers,

Veronique

2003 Rudd Oakville Estate

2003 Rudd Oakville Estate

2003 Rudd EstateTasted this wine after it’d been decanted for a couple hours – wow. In the glass, it’s deep garnet and one sniff had me hooked. Aromas of mocha, tobacco, dark fruit and stone fruit. In the mouth it’s lush and round and offers great fruit flavors with caramel, leather and blackberry notes. Finish lasts forever.

Simply an elegant, well-structured wine. I feel fortunate this wine was shared with me.

Pairings: Beef, duck, cheese course

Style: Red wine

Grape Type(s): 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot and 3% Malbec

Region: Napa Valley, CA, USA

Around $90

2009 Chateau Perenne Bernard Magrez Cru Bourgeois

2009 Chateau Perenne Bernard Magrez Cru Bourgeois

2009 Chateau Perenne Bernard Magrez Cru BourgeoisBought this inexpensive Bordeaux in Quebec in anticipation of a couple dinner parties I was attending and thought it was a nice wine for the price point.

This inky-hued wine offers beautiful fruit and nutmeg undertones. Round from the Merlot with solid body and tannins from the Cabernet Sauvignon.

This is the same producer who makes Château Pape Clement Pessac Leognan Grand Cru priced at over $350.

Pairings: Poultry, pork chops, grilled beef.

Style: Red wine

Grape Type(s): 75% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc

Region: Bordeaux, France

Around $13

Sick of White Wine Yet?

Sick of White Wine Yet?

Wine SteakIt’s hot and muggy outside and for many, including me, the weather calls for light, refreshing white wines. While I’ve poured my share of Assyrtiko, Sauvignon Blanc and Albarino this summer, I’m now craving reds that pair well with burgers, ribs and steaks.

15 Red Wines to Uncork at Summer Barbecues:

Wines for Burgers:

  • 2007 Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja (Rioja, Spain) – $9.99
  • 2010 Alba Vineyards Old Mill Red (Musconetcong Valley, New Jersey, USA) – $11.99
  • 2011 Garnet Vineyards Pinot Noir (Monterey County, California, USA) – $14.99
  • 2009 Albert Bichot Pinot Noir Vielles Vignes (Burgundy, France) – $14.99
  • 2011 Hahn Pinot Noir (Monterey County, California, USA) – $15.99

Wines for Ribs:

  • 2010 Graffigna Centenario Malbec Reserve (San Juan, Argentina) – $10.99
  • 2009 Villa Puccini Toscana (Tuscany, Italy) – $10.99
  • 2010 Predator Old Vine Zinfandel (Central Valley, California, USA) – $11.99
  • 2010 Renwood Winery Premier Old Vine Zinfandel (Amador County, California, USA) – $19.99
  • 2011 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel (Sonoma County, California, USA) – $23.99

Wines for Steaks:

  • 2008 Wyndham Estate BIN 555 Shiraz  (South Eastern, Australia) – $9.99
  • 2010 Montes Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenere (Colchagua Valley, Chile) – $10.99
  • 2010 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Barossa Shiraz (Barossa Valley, Australia) – $14.99
  • 2008 Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre (Valpolicella, Italy) – $16.99
  • 2009 Esporao Reserva Red (Alentejo, Portugal) – $18.99

What are some of your affordable reds?

Cheers,

Veronique

2008 Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin

2008 Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin

2008 Osoyoos Larose Le Grand VinMom brought this Canadian wine down with her when she came to visit. She served it with an Easter dinner of lamb and it was a nice pairing.

This Bordeaux-style blend is an intense, deep purple/red in the glass and offers aromas of ripe berries, mocha and chocolate. I expected big, bold flavors to come through based on the sheer color and aromas of this British Columbia wine but got a medium-bodied, roundish Merlot palate with a nice level of acidity and good fruit. Well-balanced with a pleasant, slightly spiced finish. One of the better Canadian reds I’ve had.

Pairings: Grilled meats, cheese course

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot

Region: Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada

Price: $40

2008 Franciscan Estate Magnificat Meritage

2008 Franciscan Estate Magnificat Meritage

2008 Franciscan Estate Magnificat MeritageI uncorked this Napa Valley Cabernet blend to pair with grilled steaks, garlic and Vermont cheddar mashed potatoes and peppercorn sauce and it was simply delicious.

I decanted half of the wine and actually enjoyed it both ways, although, predictably, it softened a bit after 30 minutes in the decanter.

In the glass, it’s inky red. I just knew I’d enjoy it by just looking at it in the glass and getting a sniff of the chocolaty, oaky, dark berry aromas. A good swirl showed legs wrapped around my glass. As far as taste goes, this California wine has delectable blackberry, stone fruit and mocha flavors. The finish is long and dry and I just loved it.

Aged in French oak barrel for over 20 months, this is a big, bold, almost jammy boy that’s right up my alley.

Pairings: Grilled beef, mac and cheese

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec

Region: Napa Valley, California, USA

Price: $50