2015 M De Mulonniere Chenin Blanc

2015 M De Mulonniere Chenin Blanc

2015 M De Mulonniere Chening BlancNutty, citrus nose on this Chenin Blanc. The palate of this medium-bodied wine offers peach/pear flavors with honey and citrus notes. Just a bit of sweetness on the finish with nice acidity.

Pairings: Seafood, grilled fish, spicy Asian food.

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): Chenin Blanc

Region: Anjou (Loire Valley), France

Price: $17

2013 Vincent Girardin Bourgogne Blanc Cuvee Saint Vincent

Ken Wright 2013Floral, citrus nose on this French Chardonnay. The palate of this medium-bodied wine is rich with peach, ripe apple and Meyer lemon flavors. Creamy texture with nice minerality.

This is the entry-level Chardonnay by this prestigious wine house and at $16, it’s not only a nice example of French white Burgundy, it’s a very good value.

Pairings: Seafood, grilled fish, white meat and mild cheese.

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): Chardonnay Region: Burgundy, France

Price: $16

2014 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay

2014 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay

2014 Au Bon Climat ChardonnayOn the nose apricot and citrus with flinty notes. The palate of this medium to full-bodied wine brings more citrus with a decent level of acidity on the finish. A great value for a California Chardonnay of this caliber.

I’m a big fan of Jim Clendenen, Au Bon Climat’s winemaker, who’s been making high quality wines in Santa Barbara County since the early 1980s.

Pairings: Grilled fish or seafood, poultry.

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): Chardonnay

Region: Santa Barbara County, California, USA

Price: $22

2014 Jean Edwards Cellars Dalla Gasperina Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

2014 Jean Edwards Cellars Dalla Gasperina Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

2014 Jean Edwards Cellars Sauvignon BlancI had the pleasure of sampling this brand new Sauvignon Blanc by Napa’s Cabernet Sauvignon experts – Jean Edwards Cellars, at the James Beard House. This is the first white by these masters of reds and it’s a winner.

In the glass, the 2014 Jean Edwards Cellars Sauvignon Blanc is straw color. This wine is a little un-Sauvignon Blanc like on the nose (a good thing where I’m concerned) with rich tropical fruit aromas and lots of juicy citrus. Love at first sniff. The tropical fruit aromas carry on to the palate with Meyer lemon notes. I really enjoyed the richness the Semillon brought to this wine and the minerality on the finish is outstanding.

A very food-friendly wine and a pleasant departure from other Sauvignon Blancs with little to no flavor. Unoaked Chardonnay fans – take note of this lovely wine.

Pairings: Grilled fish or seafood, raw oysters/clams, pear salad with citrusy vinaigrette.

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): 92% Sauvignon Blanc and 8% Semillon

Region: Napa Valley, California, USA

Price: $32

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

Harper Voit – Obsessively Crafted Willamette Valley Wines

Harper Voit – Obsessively Crafted Willamette Valley Wines

Harper VoitA couple weeks ago, I attended Pinot in the City in Manhattan, a gathering of top Oregon wineries where consumers were treated to fantastic wines from well-known producers and upcoming wineries.

The winery I was most impressed with was a new player in the New York market – Harper Voit.

Winemaker/Proprietor, Drew Voit, was in attendance and fascinated us with both his tales of his winery’s evolution and with the very fine juice he poured for us. Voit is a veteran of the Oregon wine industry with winemaker stints at Domaine Serene Winery and at Shea Wine Cellars.

Harper Voit’s motto is “Obsessively Crafted Willamette Valley Wines” and after two pours of Drew’s wines, I get it. Here are two wines we sampled:

2012 Harper Voit Strandline Pinot Noir – $35

Red with purple hues in the glass, the 2012 Strandline Pinot Noir offers ripe raspberry aromas with earthy notes. It took me a while to get my nose out of the glass to take a sip but when I did – wow.  Big mouthful of juicy dark fruit and stone fruit with apple pie spice and mocha-ish undertones. Long fruity finish.

2014 Harper Voit Maresh Vineyard Old Vine Riesling – $25

This outstanding, and I mean outstanding Riesling is made from vines planted back in the ‘70s in the legendary Maresh Vineyard. Expressive tropical fruit aromas that continue on the palate for a hint of sweetness followed by a perfect level of minerality and acidity. Thai food please!!

I’m very much looking forward to finding these small batch wines and trying others from previous vintages. I’m also looking forward to what Harper Voit has in store for us new fans.

Cheers,

Veronique

2012 Salinia Twenty Five Reasons Petillant Naturel

2012 Salinia Twenty Five Reasons Petillant Naturel

Salinia Twenty Five ReasonsThe 2012 Salinia, Twenty Five Reasons is a skin-fermented petillant Sauvignon Blanc. For those not familiar with “petillant” is a sparkling wine that contains only half the pressure of champagne.

In the glass, this natural wine is nearly cloudy with fine bubbles. On the nose, it’s light with citrusy and yeasty notes. On the palate, it’s Meyer lemons and a touch of a just slightly sweet fruit, maybe pear. The finish is dry with good balance of acidity and minerality.

Only 420 bottles of this vintage were produced and, as of most wines with cult-like followers, sold out before the labels were printed.

About the name: “In each bottle there are 25 ounces, each ounce, a reason to be passionate”. I’ll buy that. 

Pairings: Lightly-prepared fish or seafood. Perfect as an aperitif.

Style: Sparkling Wine

Grape Type(s): Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Sonoma, CA, USA

Price: $22

Virtual Tasting – Jacob’s Creek Two Lands

Virtual Tasting – Jacob’s Creek Two Lands

Two Lands WinesI’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 #TwoLands).

The wines I tasted last night were by Jacob’s Creek’s new range of wines, Two Lands, made as a collaboration between the Jacob’s Creek’s Chief Winemaker, Bernard Hickin, and Napa winemaker, Ehren Jordan. These new and affordable Australian wines are now available in retail outlets across the United States.

Here are my tasting notes for the four Jacob’s Creek wines featured – 2014 Two Lands Chardonnay, 2014 Two Lands Pinot Grigio, 2013 Two Lands Shiraz and 2013 Two Lands Cabernet Sauvignon.

2014 Two Lands Chardonnay

Bright yellow with a hint of green in the glass. This is a light-bodied Chardonnay with tropical fruit aromas. In the mouth, the flavors were of cantaloupe and peach, not over-the-top fragrant. What I loved most about this Australian Chardonnay was the bright citrusy acidity that gave the wine an almost tangy finish. As the wine warmed up a bit, it developed bigger tropical fruit flavors with a touch of oakiness.

Pairings: Seafood, chicken and pork, if prepared in a light manner

Grape Type(s): Chardonnay

Price: $14

2014 Two Lands Pinot Grigio

Very pale yellow in the glass. There are light lemony and aromas and Meyer lemon flavors that finish on a zesty citrus note. Nice summer sipper.

Pairings: Serve as an aperitif, with fish or with a light salad

Grape Type(s): Pinot Grigio

Price: $14

2013 Two Lands Cabernet Sauvignon

Bright red in the glass with an intense berry nose. This medium-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon offers stone fruit and ripe berry aromas with a little apple pie spice on the medium finish.

Pairings: Grilled meats, cheese course 

Grape Type(s): Cabernet Sauvignon

Price: $14

2013 Two Lands Shiraz

Deepest of purple in the glass with a smoky, dark fruit nose. Big ripe fruit and blackberry flavors with a crack of black pepper on the long finish. It’s a baby still and needs some cellaring. Softened up a bit with decanting.

Pairings: Grilled steak, simmered beef or lamb, barbeque ribs 

Grape Type(s): Shiraz

Price: $14

Besides the solid wine in the bottles, another thing I loved about the Two Lands is the artwork on the bottles. Here’s a short video showing the wine label illustration – very cool!

Very solid wines for that unbeatable price point – stock up for your summer parties!

These four wines were sent to me as samples and are being added to my repertoire. Cheers,

Veronique

2012 Matthiasson Napa Valley White Wine

2012 Matthiasson Napa Valley White Wine

Matthiasson_WhiteThis outstanding wine by Matthiasson is light straw color in the glass. While it’s a blend, there is a lot of Sauvignon Blanc personality on the nose: citrus and grassy aromas with some tropical notes.

In the mouth, this wine literally mad me smile, it’s simply delicious. Juicy Meyer lemon, pineapple and ripe tropical fruit flavors with great acidity.

A very balanced and elegant wine in a lovely Bordeaux way. Ends in a medium length finish with amazing minerality.

Pairings: Fish, seafood and perfect as an aperitif

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): 59% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Ribolla Gialla, 16% Semillon and 5% Tocai Friulano.

Alcohol Level: 12.7%

Cases Made: 1,092

Region: Napa, California, USA

Price: $40

Cheers,

Veronique