Have a great Thursday!
In my last post, I visited the Marlborough region of New Zealand. If you haven’t already read the post, please check it out for some background information about the terroir and wines. http://thewineknitter.com/1/post/2016/10/day-529.html
Before I leave New Zealand for other parts of the world, there are two more wines that I’d like to share with you.
Crowded House is part of Catalina Sounds and is located in the Marlborough region. The name Crowded House is derived from “the crowded, yet unique Marlborough region and our mission to stand out from this crowded world of wine.” Peter Jackson is the wine maker for both labels.
The Crowded House Sauvignon blanc 2015 is a fresh and zesty wine. The color is pale straw with aromas of tropical fruit, pineapple, citrus and hints of floral. The palate offers concentrated flavors of tropical fruit, soft citrus, pear and lemon zest on a long finish. The wine is beautifully balanced and would pair well with most seafood, salads, and light pastas or as an aperitif.
Nanny Goat Vineyard is located in Central Otago which is the most southerly wine region in the world. The vineyard is named after the wild goats that roam the mountainous terrain of the Central Otago.
The extremely hot summers, very cold winters, rocky soils and poor fertility, make for challenging conditions in producing “world-class cool climate wines”. However, winemaker, Alan Peters-Oswald who grew up in rural Central Otago farming Angora goats, now produces premium Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah after getting his Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production in Marlborough.
The Nanny Goat Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 reflects the terrior and story of this vineyard. The color of the wine is dark cherry with berries, plum and spice on the nose. The palate is rich with layers of cherry, plum, blackberry, raspberry and violet. Soft tannins and a silky mouth-feel lead to a lengthy finish with hints of pepper and oak. This medium-bodied wine paired nicely with the Dijon crusted salmon and vegetable couscous. It would also complement stews, hearty soups and meat entrees.
The wines are priced well and would be a nice addition the holiday table.
Have a great Thursday!
Having recently received a delightful lineup of wines from New Zealand, I thought it would be fun to “fly” over there and check out the wine scene.
New Zealand is an island nation comprised of two islands (North and South) in the southwestern Pacific Ocean that extends 1000 miles with eleven wine regions ranging from sub-tropical Northland to the world’s most southerly grape growing region Central Otago. Vineyards profit from the maritime climate with long hours of sun and cool nights. In fact, no vineyard is further than 80 miles from the ocean. According to stats from WineInstitute.Org, for the year 2014, New Zealand produced about 1.13% of the world’s wine and ranked #15, with France, Italy and Spain leading the pack. Although New Zealand wine production might be low, an impressive collection of varieties and styles are making their presence known.
New Zealand has been making wine since the 1800s, with the oldest existing vineyard being established in 1851 by French Roman Catholic missionaries at Mission Estate in Hawke’s Bay. There are many grape varieties found throughout the wine regions such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
Catalina Sounds is a small estate located in the Marlborough region, which is the largest wine region in the country. Marlborough region occupies the northeastern corner of the South Island. Eighty percent of New Zealand’s Sauvignon blanc is grown in Marlborough, followed closely by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Many critics believe that Marlborough produces some of the world’s best Sauvignon blanc.
Peter Jackson is Catalina Sound’s wine maker and his philosophy is simple: “Source outstanding fruit from exceptional vineyard sites. I believe the most critical decision a winemaker makes is deciding when to pick. Once harvested, my role is to simply steer the fruit in the right direction in order to best express the vibrant fruit flavors that Marlborough is renowned for while respecting the subtle differences of each site”.
Catalina Sounds 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is primarily sourced from Catalina’s “Sound of White” vineyard situated in Waihopai Valley. This is a beautiful and very friendly wine! The color is pale straw with enticing aromas of tropical fruit, peach, citrus and herbs. The palate offers layers of stone fruit, citrus, apple and floral notes. Nicely balanced with “juicy” acidity, the finish is dry and long. This wine would pair well with a variety of appetizers, light fish, cheese & fruit or on it’s own!
Catalina Sounds 2015 Pinot Noir is sourced from Sound of White vineyard in Waihopai Valley and the Clayridge vineyard in Omaka Valley. Dark ruby in color, delicious aromas of sweet and sour cherry, earth and spice greet the senses. The palate is a lovely blend of berries, cherry, plum, spice and hints of oak followed by a long finish of lingering herbs and spice. Medium-bodied with a silky mouth-feel and soft tannins, this is an ideal wine for meat, poultry and hearty stews. It completed the Pumpkin Red Lentil Chili I made the other evening. The wine soothed the fire on my palate while adding another great taste sensation!
My next post will be about Crowded House and Nanny Goat Vineyards. See you in New Zealand again soon!
I seem to keep finding my way back to exploring Chilean wines and rightly so. The wines have become more focused with many producers concentrating on bio dynamic, organic and sustainable agriculture in addition to producing unique and delicious wines. Chilean wines have earned significant recognition among wine critics and connoisseurs.
I recently received two bottles of wine from Concha y Toro’s flagship brand, Casillero del Diablo Devil’s collection.
With Halloween just a few weeks away, the story behind the collection is perfect for telling while serving up a glass! Don Melchor Concha y Tora founded the vineyard in 1883. Legend has it that more than 130 years ago a ship set sail from Bordeaux carrying a cargo of precious vines. The ship landed in Chile where the grapes were turned into a mysterious wine. The wines were locked up, but continually disappeared from the cellar. So in order to stop the theft of the wines, he spread a rumor that the devil lived in the cellar. Everyone became terrified and some people claimed to have seen the devil. No one was ever able to solve the mystery and Don Melchor Concha y Toro continued to enjoy his wines. To this day, it is known as the “devils cellar”.
Casillero del Diablo means “devils locker” in Spanish. The cellar is located in Pirque, close to Santiago.
Casillero del Diablo Reserva 2016 Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Casablanca Valley region. This 100% Sauvignon Blanc is a light bodied wine filled with aromas of fresh citrus and pear. The palate offers grapefruit, green apple and has a zesty mouth-feel. This a refreshing wine that is well balanced and would complement light fare such as seafood, light pasta dishes, cheese and fruit.
Price: Approximately $11
Casillero del Diablo Reserva 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon comes from Central Valley region. It is 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Syrah, 2% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Petit Syrah. The color is dark ruby bordering on purple. Aromas of dark berries, plum, cherry and spice set the stage. Cherry and plum dominate the palate with a touch of berry and hints of oak and vanilla on the finish. This is a juicy wine that is nicely balanced with smooth tannins and will pair well with hearty stews and soup, pasta, game and meats.
Price: Approximately $11
The Casillero del Diablo wines are “best-value” wines that don’t disappoint the palate. Pick up a few bottles and enjoy these wines before they “mysteriously” disappear from the shelves!
Monday was a rainy day. And, what better way to spend it than sampling wines of The House of Burgundy’s 2016 Grand Annual Tasting inside the ballroom of The Harmonie Club in NYC.
Many countries and producers were represented at the event. I began my tour tasting wines from countries that I had never tried before, such as Bulgaria, Turkey, Lebanon and Japan. I then explored wines from Argentina, France, Greece, Italy and the USA. In addition to the wines, I tried a wonderful spirit from Turkey called Efe Raki.
I heard countless and fascinating stories about wineries steeped in history and I tasted some memorable wines that I would love to share with you. Since I am short on time today, I’ll tell you about a few wines/spirit and save the rest of my stories for future posts.
I was quite impressed with Vini Wines from Bulgaria. Imported by Bulgarian Masters Vintners and produced specifically for them, Vini Wines is the best-selling Bulgarian wine brand in the U.S. The wines are produced in Bulgaria’s Southern Thracian Valley, an area that has a long history of wine production. The 2015 Vini Sauvignon Blanc (100%) was crisp with notes of citrus and peach. Nice acidity and a pleasing finish make this an easy wine to pair with many foods. The 2015 Vini Pinot Noir (100%) was full of dark fruit and spice with hints of cherry. The tannins were ripe. Spice and hints of vanilla lingered on the finish. All the Vini wines have an alcohol content that ranges from 12% to 13%. The price point is around $8.99 and worth exploring!
Heading over to Turkey, I was dazzled and intrigued by the Efe Raki display. Efe Raki is an unsweetened alcoholic drink made from dried or fresh grapes and flavored with anise seeds. It is similar in taste to Ouzo. Raki is also called Lions Milk due to the fact that the clear liquid turns milky when water is added. Served in typical Raki glasses, this is a drink that goes well with light appetizers or mixed in cocktails. I tasted the Efe Fresh Grapes Raki (Green bottle) The aroma of aniseed was quite strong and pleasantly intoxicating but was softer on the palate than ouzo or Pernod. Alcohol is 45% and the price range is $15 to $21 depending on which bottle you buy. Check out their website which has lots of interesting information about Raki history and tradition.
Have a happy Wednesday!
It’s interesting how a change in temperature can influence the palate. I awoke the other morning to crisp fall-like weather and my thoughts went immediately to making one of my hearty soups. I started compiling a list of ingredients to buy and perused my wine inventory for a bold red wine to serve with the soup. By the time I was ready to go food shopping, the humidity and heat had crept back in. The soup went on hold mode and the California Cabernet Sauvignon was gently slipped back into its resting place. With another heat wave on the horizon, I’ll revert back to “light” cooking and enjoying crisp, refreshing, chilled wines!
Speaking of which…
I popped open a bottle of 2013 Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford, Napa Valley. This 100% Sauvignon Blanc is “made entirely from dry-farmed and organically grown grapes.” Quote taken from Frogsleap.com The color was pale straw with vivid aromas of pear, citrus, grapefruit and a hint of floral. The palate offered a tasty infusion of citrus, pear and pineapple with hints of grapefruit and melon. A combination of lemon zest and vanilla lingered on the finish. This is a crisp and beautifully balanced wine that would complement a multitude of food in addition to drinking on it’s own, as I did.
Price: $22 to $25
I’m off to embrace this warm but beautiful day! I’m thinking perhaps a white Burgundy might be nice for this evening!
Wines of Chile Visits Whole Foods Markets
Over the past few months, I have written several posts pertaining to Chilean wines. I have described the land, talked to wine producers and reviewed some amazing wines. For a better understanding of Chile, its regions and grapes, please go to http://thewineknitter.com/1/post/2016/06/day-482.html.
Recently, Wines of Chile sent me nine bottles of wine to taste and review. These wines representing eight regions throughout Chile will be available in Whole Foods Markets nationwide for the “Country of Origin In-Store Program” from August 24th through October 26th, 2016.
Odfjell 2016 Armador, Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley
Odfjell Winery is located in a small corner of the Maipo Valley. Started 25 years ago by Norwegian born ship owner, Dan Odfjell, it is a family run business carried on today by his sons Laurence and Dan Jr. Odfjell Winery prides itself in producing unique wines with an emphasis on sustainability.
Armador, which is the Spanish word for “ship owner”, is 100% Sauvignon Blanc harvested from their vineyard in Casablanca Valley. The color is soft yellow with a green tinge to it. A floral bouquet with citrus and pear continues onto the palate with light fruit and citrus notes. This is a crisp wine that would make a great aperitif or served with light meals.
Viña Errazuriz 2015 Max, Chardonnay, Aconcagua Costa
Don Maximiano Errázuriz founded Viña Errazuriz in 1870. It is a fifth generation family owned winery. Eduardo Chadwick Claro is president of Viña Errazuriz and a descendent of the winery’s founder. Errazuriz was the first estate to plant vines and cultivate the coastal area of Aconcagua Valley and also one of the first wineries to be granted the Certification of Sustainability.
The Viña Errazuriz 2015 Max Chardonnay Reserva is 100% Chardonnay. The color is straw with citrus, tropical fruit and pear on the nose. The palate is layered with citrus, lush fruit and a creamy mouthfeel. Lemon and flowers are persistent on a long crisp finish. This is a refreshing wine that would pair well with most meals.
Autoritas 2014 Pinot Noir, Valle Central
Autoritas wines are produced by Luis Felipe Edwards in the Valle Central region. The name Autoritas is derived from the Latin word Auctoritas that means respect and prestige.
The 2015 Autoritas is 100% Pinot Noir. The color is dark cherry with aromas of berries, spice and pepper. The palate offers cherry, plum and spice with almost no tannins to speak of. This is a very clean and uncomplicated wine. You can’t beat the price!
Boya 2014 Pinot Noir, Leyda Valley (San Antonio Valley)
Boya Winery is a boutique estate winery located just five miles from the ocean. Matias Garces Silva is founder of Boya Winery and pioneered winemaking in Leyda, a sub-region of the San Antonio Valley in the coastal zone. Fittingly, Boya means, “buoy” in Spanish.
Boya 2014 Pinot Noir is 100% Pinot Noir with a dark ruby color. The wine has intense aromas of fresh fruit, strawberry, tea rose and a hint of spice. The palate is nicely balanced with ripe fruit and spice. Soft tannins with a little pepper on a medium finish add to the character of this wine.
Criterion 2014 Carménère, Colchagua Valley
Criterion Cellars is located in the southernmost region of Chile. Colchagua is the southernmost portion of the Rapel Valley and one of Chile’s best-known wine regions. It is noted for the Carménère grape. This is a dark skinned grape that was originally planted in the vineyards of Bordeaux and has found its home in Chile.
The 2014 Criterion Carménère is 100% Carménère. The color is deep crimson, bordering on purple. The nose offers black fruits, spice and a hint of earth. The palate is layered with dark cherries, blackberries, pepper, cocoa, coffee and soft tannins. The finish is medium to short, but has all the elements for an enjoyable wine.
Mayu 2014 Carménère-Syrah, Elqui Valley
Mayu Winery located in the Elqui Valley at the northern edge of Chile, was founded in 2005 by Mauro Olivier. The focus of Mayu winery is “only the production of Premium wines originated in the Elqui Valley with unique style and personality.” The arid desert climate and cold nights are ideal for growing grapes, leading to more concentrated aromas, deep color and developed tannins. Mayu is the Incas word for “river of stars in the Milky Way”.
The 2014 MAYU Carménère-Syrah Reserva is a blend of 55% Carménère and 44% Syrah. The color is deep ruby with purple hues. It is an interesting combination of aromas, from ripe fruit to earth and spice. The palate offers dark cherry, plum, spice and hints of vanilla lingering on a medium finish. It has depth, but yet light enough to serve in the warm days still ahead.
Erasmo 2010 Reserva de Caliboro, Maule Valley
In 1995 Count Francesco Marone Cinzano, owner of the Col d'Orcia estate in Montalcino, Tuscany, brought his expertise and knowledge to "Riserva di Caliboro" in the Maule Valle of Chile to produce high quality wines from grape clones imported from France.
The 2010 Erasmo Reserva de Caliboro is a single vineyard handcrafted wine. The blend is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. The color is deep ruby with aromas of dark berries, earth and a hint of floral. This is a full-bodied wine with a beautiful richness to it. Layers of blackberry, cherry, candy apple, licorice and pine give way to soft tannins and a long velvety finish. This is a wine to drink now and right through winter.
De Martino 2014 Estate Organic Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley
De Martino winery was established in 1934 when the De Martino family moved to Maipo from Italy. The winery is now run by the family’s third and fourth generation and is one of the leading organic producers in Chile. They have vineyards in seven regions throughout Chile.
The 2014 Estate Organic Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The color of the wine is ruby with subtle aromas of cherry, red and black fruit with a hint of mushrooms. The palate offers lush fruit with traces of tobacco, earth and lingering spice on the finish. Medium-bodied with mild tannins. Very nice!
Casa Silva 2014 Los Lingues Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley
Viña Casa Silva is a family owned winery that was established in 1997 and is located in Colchagua Valley. Although recently under a new name, the family’s passion for winemaking began in 1892, when Emilio Bouchon arrived from France. The fourth and fifth generation decided to make wines under their own label, creating a new family winery, Viña Casa Silva.
The 2014 Los Lingues Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The color is deep garnet with lovely aromas of dark fruit, strawberries, anise and pepper. The palate is lush with juicy red fruit, hints of tobacco, and soft tannins. The finish is medium with a touch of pepper lingering. This wine would pair well with a hearty meal!
With all the above wines costing below $20.00, this is a great opportunity to “visit” Chile at Whole Foods Market and experience some wonderful wines. There is a wine for everyone and every occasion!
Although it was a busy “work” weekend, I managed to take some time to catch up with old friends, enjoy a little swimming and dining as well. As is so often said, “it’s good to pause and take time to smell the roses” or in my case, the bouquet of wine!
With the temperatures still hitting over the 90 degree mark, I opened my last bottle of 2014 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough New Zealand that had been chilling in my refrigerator for most of the summer. I reviewed this wine about a year ago, but it is definitely worth mentioning again. The color was pale straw with citrus, tropical fruit, floral and herbs on the nose. The palate was layered with fruit, green apple, grapefruit and a flirtatious amount of lemon that tickled the mouth. This is a light and crisp wine with an edge of bitterness on the finish, but works. http://www.oysterbaywines.com
The wine complemented a light summer meal that I prepared for my guest. Poached salmon served over fresh romaine, farmer’s market beans and cherry tomatoes tossed with a light Caesar dressing. It was perfect in every way! As we dined, the sky lit up with an incredible lightning show and I was quite happy to be inside!
Have a peaceful Sunday!
With all the dreadful heat and humidity of late, my desire to “imbibe” has waned a little. For the past few days, water seems to be the big star in my glass. However, I did have a refreshing and perfectly chilled Sauvignon Blanc the other evening.
The 2015 CADE Sauvignon Blanc was a great choice for a balmy night. Made with 92% Sauvignon Blanc, 2.5% Sauvignon Musque 3% Sémillon, and 2.5% Vionier, it was just the right blend of grapes that added subtle layers to the wine. The color was so pale, it was almost clear. Delicious aromas of soft citrus, peach, lemon and honeydew segued onto the palate. The texture was creamy with some floral and apple thrown in. Hints of honeysuckle and lime lingered on the finish. This was a crisp and wonderfully layered wine!
CADE is PlumJack’s sister winery, located high up on Howell Mountain in Napa Valley. The winery is at an elevation of 1800 feet and is considered one of the greenest wineries ever built.
I have many bottles of wine to taste and review, but I’m waiting for a break in the weather, which will hopefully arrive towards the end of the weekend.
Have a great Thursday! Stay cool!
It was the perfect evening to sit out on the deck, watch the sunset, share stories and drink wine. There was a delightful breeze and NO humidity!
The empty bottles and the last few mouthfuls of some nice wine…
We started with Montes Spring Harvest 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from the cool coastal region of Leyda Valley, Chile. The grapes are handpicked
one month early, making the wine available 2 months earlier than other wines of this variety. Aurelio Montes, the chief winemaker, says this wine is “ideal to celebrate the beginning of the spring season.”
The color was light yellow with a green hue. Aromas of citrus, grapefruit, mango and a hint of herbs tickled the nose. The palate offered citrus, grapefruit, lemon zest and hints of pepper. A bitter edge followed at the finish, making this a most delightful experience. Full-bodied with racy acidity makes this wine a perfect accompaniment to most food. Alcohol: 12.5% Price range: $13 to $16
For our dinner, I made pan seared Halibut with charred corn, mint, scallions, cherry tomatoes and fresh lime juice. A side of pear, walnut and Gorgonzola stuffed ravioli drizzled with balsamic & fig dressing, and homemade country French bread completed the meal.
We chose a 2014 J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay from Arroyo Seco Monterey, Central Coast, CA to drink with our dinner. This is a “tried and true” chardonnay. I reviewed the 2014 vintage in November. The color was pale yellow with aromas of peach, strawberry, honeysuckle and nuts. The aromas carried over onto the palate with oak and a smooth buttery feel on the finish. Alcohol: 13.5% Price is approximately $14
It’s time for a swim.
This week is busy with wine events and I hope to have a few interesting posts for you to read in the next week or so.
In the meantime, I just want to give a quick thumbs up to the 2014 Groth Sauvignon Blanc from Napa that I had the other evening. This is a beautiful blend of 91% Sauvignon Blanc and 9% Semillon. 80% of the fruit is fermented in oak barrels and 20% in stainless steel. Pale yellow in color, this wine has wonderful aromas of citrus, melon and pear. The palate does not disappoint and offers a lively array of peach, pear, citrus and light minerals. It is crisp with a velvety mouth-feel and a nice finish. Lovely balance between tart and sweet. Alcohol: 14%
Price range is $17 to $21.
It’s a beautiful day and perfect for an early evening swim and cocktails!