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Thursday, July 2, 2015

C’est Bon 2013 Reserve Selection Chardonnay, Oakville

Game Cabin 2015 Plus Wine 023

This wine comes from online retailer Invino’s private label. It is their first release from their Reserve Selection portfolio.

C’est Bon 2013 Reserve Selection Chardonnay is from Oakville with fruit from the Money Road Ranch. We brought this with us on our recent rustic cabin trip to West Virginia.

The cooking chores were divided among the group of friends at the outing. For our dinner, Green Dragon and I (actually just her) decided on cedar plank salmon. My task was to build a hardwood fire in an outdoor grill and cook the fish.

It was mighty difficult to get the fire started. Once ignited it burned with intense flames, causing me to cool off with large amounts of chilled white wine.

Once the salmon was done, I expertly transferred it to a serving dish and the cedar plank was soon engulfed in an inferno. We were soon enjoying some (if I do say so myself) wonderfully cooked salmon paired with a great Napa Chardonnay.

The C’est Bon was part of a mystery half-case that I purchased. We aren’t over-the-top Chardonnay fans, but I was pleased to see this high quality Chard. It comes from one of the top sub-regions of California, located right in the center of Napa Valley.

Lightly oaked, the Chardonnay paired well with the smoky seasoning of the salmon. There were flavors of apple and peach leading to a very dry finish.

The bottle retails for $19.99 and I got it for about $15 via the mystery deal. That’s an outstanding value for a solid Napa Chardonnay.

Rating: 3 of 5  Value: 3.5 of 5

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Toledo Area Wine Events & Tastings: July 1-4, 2015

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Wednesday, July 1

British Columbia WBC13 047The Andersons, Sylvania, 6– 8 PM. Our Second Annual "Rosé Can You See" Wine Tasting: 1. Mas Carlot 2014 Rosé, 2. Gerard Bertrand 2014 Cote des Roses Rosé, 3. Charles & Charles 2014 Rosé, 4. Domaine Lafond 2014 Tavel Rosé, 5. Mulderbosch 2014 Rosé. $8 flight or nominal fee per sample.

Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463. 5:30 – 7:30 PM. Wednesday Wine Tasting. Come out with friends, have fun, taste good juice! $15 per person.

Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 6:00 – 8:00 PM. Premium Wine on the Patio: Pinot Noir and Syrah. Limited to 18 people.
$50 if you pay in advance. $75 day of the event.

Thursday, July 2   

Andersons, Maumee, Wine Tasting. 5-7 PM. Happy Independence Day! 1. 2014 Picpoul De Pinet – France, 2. 2014 Domaine De Gournier – Rosé – France, 3. 2013 The Pinot Project – Pinot Noir – California, 4. 2012 Bertrand Stehelin – Le Vin de Pays de Vaucluse – France. $5 flight or nominal fee per sample.

Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6 – 8 PM. Unoaked Chardonnay and Refreshing Wines for Summer: 1. Heidi Schrock Rose Biscaya, 2. Navarro Chardonnay, 3. Hanna Chardonnay, 4. Meiomi Chardonnay, 5. Argyle Chardonnay, 6. Fattoria di Lucignano Chianti Colli Fiorentini, 7. Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas, 8. Big Guy Red. Nominal fee per sample,

Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-9 PM. Weekly tasting. Nominal fee per sample.

WineTastings-1_thumb1_thumb_thumb_thNoir Fine . Wine and Beer, 1616 East Wooster, Bowling Green, 6-9 PM. Nominal fee per sample or priced per flight.

TREO Wine Bar, 5703 Main St., Sylvania, (419) 882-2266. Wine & Cheese Thursday. Explore the wonderful world of wine and cheese. Try four different wines with a sample platter of the day’s cheese.

Friday, July 3

Walt Churchill's Market, 26625 Dixie Hwy, Perrysburg, (419) 872-6900. Wine tasting – 4:00 – 7:00 PM.

Saturday, July 4

Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 12:00 – 5:00 PM. America’s Best Wines. Forget beer this holiday! America makes some amazing wines! Nominal fee per sample.

AREA WINE BARS

  • Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463.
  • Zinful Wine Bar, (419) 878-9463, 7541 Dutch Road, Waterville.

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[Information on tastings can be sent toTWAV@ATT.NET.]
Up & Coming:

Tuesdays – Weekly wine tasting at Forrester's on the River, 26 Main St. Toledo – (419) 691-2626. 5:00 – 7:00 PM. Five to six unique tastings of wine, that are not found on the menu, along with an assortment of tapas style appetizers to complement the wines.  Tastings are between $10-$15 per person and are held in their wine bar (Paige's Wine Bar).

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Old Soul 2013 Pure Red Blend, California

Old Soul Pure Red

I am just now becoming acquainted with Old Soul wines, produced in Lodi. They offer full-on flavor at an every day price. Case in point: the Old Soul 2013 Pure Red blend.

The appellation for this wine is California, meaning that the grapes come from a variety of regions, not just Lodi. The blend for this wine is Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. I’d be very surprised if the Zin wasn’t from Lodi, which is known for world-class Zinfandel.

The Pure Red was opened on an evening when the Green Dragon was calling for a casual wine for some after dinner sipping. I popped the cork on this blend, not knowing quite what to expect.

The Old Soul was full of fresh, vibrant flavors and a silky smooth body. Part of the wine was aged for a year in French and American oak while another portion was fermented in stainless steel. That’s a bit unusual, but it works.

I’d guess that the Cab was oak aged and perhaps the Zin and Petite Sirah went the stainless steel route. Whatever winemaking machinations took  place, the result is a wine that has richly concentrated flavors of raspberry and blackberry. It has structure, but doesn’t require aging or decanting to enjoy. There is a long, tongue-coating finish.

At a SRP of $14, the price of a case or two isn’t sky high. This is a solid wine that would be a great crowd pleaser at a party. It would pair well with pizza, steak or barbeque.

Rating: 3 of 5  Value: 4 of 5

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Full disclosure: We received this wine as a marketing sample.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Môreson Family Winery: South Africa Winery Visit

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Continuing the saga of our wine and safari expedition to South Africa…

We arrived at Môreson at just the right time during our first day of wine tasting in Franschhoek. We had been to a couple of wineries and the day was starting to heat up and our bellies beginning to growl.

The winery is located on Happy Valley Road and to get to the cellar door (as the South Africans call the tasting room) you walk on the cobbled path past oak trees and lemon orchards. We found a lovely location for tasting under a spreading tree. Soon our server Cara was pouring a glass of Methode Cap Classique bubbly. MCC is South Africa’s version of Champagne, made in the traditional method.

The Solitaire Blanc de Blanc was effervescent and a fountain of refreshment. It was less yeasty, and more crisp, than the MCC sparklers we had tasted at other wineries. It is made with 100% Chardonnay, a portion of which is oaked. It is lightly tropical with a hint of biscuit. It also had a delicious froth and persistent bubbles. This was Green Dragon (my wife) approved.

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Enjoying the sunshine on the patio, we continued our exploration of their whites with the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc. This was a tasty glass with tropical flavor notes and lemon zest. The playfully named 2013 Dr. Reason Why is an “unwooded” Chardonnay. This offers a full bodied mouth-feel and had butterscotch and vanilla tones. We were able to contrast this with the 2013 Mercator Premium Chardonnay, which had more of a citrus flavor profile.

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As we progressed, the red wines emerged. Môreson was one of the first Franschhoek wineries to excel in Pinotage, the signature red of South Africa. Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (which the South Africans call Hermitage). The best Pinotage is medium bodied and subtly flavored.

The 2013 Widow Maker Pinotage is the best Pinotage we tasted in our excursion to South Africa. The vines for Widow Maker are grown on a sunny slope and the grapes are treated like Pinot Noir (with great care!). It projects bright cherry and berry flavors. It also has no “funk” which can ruin Pinotage. According to Cara the winemaker must carefully avoid pulling out the banana flavors in the grape – a sign of an inferior Pinotage. We loved it and lugged a bottle back in our checked luggage.

We closed our tasting with the 2012 Mata Mata, a Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Verdot. Unlike many blends you encounter, the Petite Verdot was prominent on the nose and the Cab Franc played a major role in the mixture. It offers rich berry flavor with a hint of oak.

Since we were approaching the lunch hour, we were in luck. One of the best dining experiences in the Cape is Môreson’s Bread & Wine restaurant under the spreading trees of the courtyard.

I luxuriated with the bacon-wrapped springbok, butternut granola and sour fig. The Green Dragon enjoyed a tasty ahi tuna dish. Augmented with some wine, and surrounded by the pastoral setting of the wine farm, this was exquisite.

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Môreson is a top pick when visiting South Africa’s Cape Winelands. Franschhoek is known as the country’s culinary capitol, and Bread & Wine is a top pick for creative, balanced and seasonally inspired dining.

We heartily recommend Môreson.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Saint Cosme 2014 Little James’ Basket Press, Pays d’Oc

Little James Basket Press

While strolling through Churchill’s wine department I happened upon an unusual white with a quirky label. Little James’ Basket Press, it proclaimed. For only $10.99, I popped it in my bag for some casual sipping.

Part of the appeal was the unusual label. I’m immune to the “cute animal” labels, but this one had a little imp, Little James I assume, prancing around conducting an orchestra (in the vineyard), taking a bath in a wine barrel and stomping grapes. The combination of grapes is also eccentric: a blend of Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc.

The wine is unoaked, so it retains a refreshing character. The blend is heavier on the Viognier, which takes the edge off the Sauvignon Blanc’s acidity and creates a more fragrant and luscious wine. Like Little James, it is fun and playful and also immediately satisfying.

little_james_saint_cosme_vin_de_pays_d_oc_little_james_blanc_2014This is the first time I’ve tasted a Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier blend, but this French country wine sold me on its merits. At this price, Little James could be a frequent visitor to the patio this summer.

Rating: 3 of 5  Value: 4 of 5

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bodegas Triton Avante 2009 Mencia, Spain

Mencia

This mild red went with us on our recent trip to a rustic cabin in West Virginia. While there we enjoyed an assortment of tasty meals prepared on a wood stove. The Avante held up well with a variety of dishes from meatloaf to pasta.

Mencia is a relatively new grape to me. It is a Spanish grape found mostly in the northwestern part of the country. It is becoming more popular as winemakers experiment with older vines resulting in complex wines.

The Avante comes from multiple vineyards in the Castile and Leon regions. It is 100% Mencia and is finished in 30% stainless steel and 70% French oak.

This is a light to medium bodied wine. The tannins are loose, making it a good food to pair with lighter dishes. It has raspberry and earth flavors while maintaining a somewhat bright tone.

In Greek mythology, Triton's stallions represented the waves upon the waters he ruled. According to the winemaker, inspired by a stone carving of these horses, Avante pays homage to the wild rivers that carved their paths into the rugged mountains of northern Spain.

I found this bottle for $9 on a closeout at Zinful and galloped away with a great deal. This doesn’t have the firepower to pair with a grilled steak, but it is a suitable choice for casual sipping, light fare or tapas.

Rating: 2.5 of 5  Value: 3.5 of 5

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Toledo Area Wine Events & Tastings: June 24-27, 2015

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Vin 48Wednesday, June 24  

The Andersons, Sylvania, 6– 8 PM. A New Chardonnay and Some Great Red Specials: 1. Noble Vines 446 Chardonnay 2013, 2. Saint Clair Block 16 2010 Pinot Noir (New Zealand), 3. Edmeades 2011 Zinfandel, 4. Chateau Mourgues du Gres 2011 Galets Rouge, 5. BV Beaurouge 2012 Napa Red. $7 flight or nominal fee per sample.

Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463. 5:30 – 7:30 PM. Wednesday Wine Tasting. Come out with friends, have fun, taste good juice! $15 per person.

Thursday, June 25  

Andersons, Maumee, Wine Tasting. 5-7 PM. Beautiful Summer Wines: 1. 2013 Bovin – Chardonnay – Macedonia, 2. 2014 La Ferme de Gicon – Cotes Du Rhone  - Rose, 3. 2014 Mas Carlot – Costieres De Nimes – Rose – Rhone, 4. 2011 Bovin – Alexandar – Macedonia. $5 flight or nominal fee per sample.

Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6 – 8 PM. Never Had or Heard of that Before – Tasting: 1. Botani Dry Muscat, 2. Prager Gruner Veltliner, 3. Chateau Nozieres Cahors, 4. Protea, 5. Villadoria Bricco Magno Nebbiolo, 6. Chaman, 7. Il Baciale, 8. Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Aglianico. Nominal fee per sample,

Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-9 PM. Weekly tasting. Nominal fee per sample.

WineTastings-1_thumb1_thumb_thumb_thNoir Fine . Wine and Beer, 1616 East Wooster, Bowling Green, 6-9 PM. Nominal fee per sample or priced per flight.

TREO Wine Bar, 5703 Main St., Sylvania, (419) 882-2266. Wine & Cheese Thursday. Explore the wonderful world of wine and cheese. Try four different wines with a sample platter of the day’s cheese.

Friday, June 26  

Walt Churchill's Market, 26625 Dixie Hwy, Perrysburg, (419) 872-6900. Wine tasting – 4:00 – 7:00 PM.

Saturday, June 27  

Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 12:00 – 5:00 PM. Customer Appreciation Day Part 2: “This time it’s personal.” Nominal fee per sample.

AREA WINE BARS

  • Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463.
  • Zinful Wine Bar, (419) 878-9463, 7541 Dutch Road, Waterville.

Technorati Tags: wine

[Information on tastings can be sent toTWAV@ATT.NET.]
Up & Coming:

Tuesdays – Weekly wine tasting at Forrester's on the River, 26 Main St. Toledo – (419) 691-2626. 5:00 – 7:00 PM. Five to six unique tastings of wine, that are not found on the menu, along with an assortment of tapas style appetizers to complement the wines.  Tastings are between $10-$15 per person and are held in their wine bar (Paige's Wine Bar).

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Old Soul 2013 Pinot Noir, Lodi

Old Soul Pinot Noir

Mention Lodi and chances are that a bottle of reasonably priced Zinfandel pops into mind. Or perhaps Chenin Blanc. But most wine consumers won’t connect the dots between Lodi, part of the expansive Central Valley of California, and Pinot Noir. It’s taken an “old soul” to make that happen.

Old Soul wines are produced by the Maggio and Reynolds families, who have made wine in the historic region of Lodi for five generations. In 2002 they transformed the oldest winery in Lodi into a state-of-the-art facility and now produce a number of brands including Old Soul.

I grabbed this bottle as we headed out the door to visit tasting team members Glorious T and the Cabinator. They were delighted to see the bottle. As it turns out, they refer to CoCo, one of their new dogs, as an “old soul.”

The Old Soul 2013 Pinot turned out to be ideal for our perfect evening on the deck. While puffy clouds wafted around the blue sky, we experienced the power of Pinot.

Coco 1Lodi is known for robust, powerful fruit and that carries through to Pinot Noir as well. The wine is rich with concentrated flavors. The wine is a blend of Pinot Noir with a dash of Zinfandel and Merlot. That gives it a unique Lodi spin.

During the winemaking process, malolactic fermentation helps soften the acidity and broaden the body. The wine is then separated into lots and aged in oak for various lengths of time depending on their profile. The best lots are then selected to become “an old soul.”

We thoroughly enjoyed the Old Soul Pinot. At a $14 SRP, you can become James Brown – and by that I mean you can afford to have a lot of (old) soul.

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Full Disclaimer: We received this bottle as a marketing sample.

Monday, June 22, 2015

La Motte: South Africa Winery Visit

Continuing the saga of our wine and safari excursion to South Africa…

Kathy Phone 051615 090Despite doing research in advance, visiting a winery can be a Forrest Gump experience, “you never know what you’re going to get.” That was the case with La Motte.

It certainly looked good online and was recommended in books. As our wine explorations in Franschhoek continued, we found that La Motte exceeded expectations in every way.

Viticulture at La Motte dates back to 1752 when 4,000 vines were planted by Huguenot descendant Gabriël du Toit. In 1970 the estate was purchased by Dr. Anton Rupert and developed into a world-class winery and sought-after tourist destination.

DSC_0245The grounds are stunning and feature sculptures of eight female figures including The Wine Bearer, a sculpture by Toby Megaw, which welcomes guests on the drive to the wine farm. A superlative museum is also on the grounds with a special focus on the landscapes of Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, acknowledged as one of South Africa’s greatest old masters.

A bridge over a stream guides you into the stylish and friendly tasting room. There is a nice assortment of seating options, a fireplace and large glass panels with an unimpeded view into the barrel room. In keeping with the upscale ambiance, the servers are dubbed “wine ambassadors.”

DSC_0251We settled down at a long wooden table with a view of the barrel room and began our tasting. We led off with a trio of whites.

The 2014 La Motte Sauvignon Blanc has aroma of cut grass with green apple and citrus flavors. At 60R (or about $5 US) this is an unthinkable value. The 2014 Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc is vinified sur lie for 16 hours. This gives the wine a bigger body and more character. An excellent Sauvignon Blanc for not much more in price.

DSC_0250Our next taste was the 2013 Chardonnay from their Classic Collection. The Green Dragon mentioned she isn’t a huge Chard fan to which our wine ambassador responded that even if you are ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) this wine would show you CBA (Chardonnay is Back Again). Indeed it is light with tropical and citrus notes. The South African style, in our experience, favors lighter Chardonnay avoiding overly oaked versions.

DSC_0246A quartet of reds awaited us. In my excitement I dumped the remainder of my white wine into the water pitcher instead of the dump bucket!

SA Dave 086A favorite red was the 2013 La Motte Millennium. This is a blend of 57% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc, with the remainder being Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is light bodied with raspberry and toffee, enhanced by light tannins. The Cab Franc plays a leading role in the blend, which can age up to 10 years.

The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon offers classic cabernet flavors. Black currant and violet rule this elegant wine. This is a QPR (Quality Price Ratio) winner at about $10 US.

 

DSC_0249We finished with a pair of Syrah. The 2011 La Motte Syrah is a cool terroir wine that was juicy and medium bodied. The winner of the Syrah faceoff, though, was the 2013 La Motte Pierneef Syrah. Although a younger wine, this is more of what a Syrah should be. It has 10% Viognier (a white variety) to add some raciness to the spice of the Syrah. It offers style and finesse.

SA Dave 087Those two words could sum up La Motte. Their tagline is “A Culture of Excellence” and it is evident in their wines, staff and facilities. It is France and Napa blended and served with winning South African hospitality. Don’t miss it.

Related Articles

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Louis Bernard 2012 Cotes Du Rhone Villages

Cotes du Rhone

Maison Louis Bernard in Gigondas is known for creating great values in French wines. A vigneron, it selects the best grapes from a variety of vineyards in acclaimed regions to make its wine.

Cotes du Rhone is one of the largest and most diverse wine regions (about 140,000 acres) in France. This 2012 CDR Villages is mainly Grenache and Syrah.

If you know little else about French wines, know this. CDR wines are easy to drink, great values and please wine lovers be they newcomers or aficionados. Cotes du Rhone Villages is said to be superior to the more widely available Cotes du Rhone.

This wine came from the cellar of the Cabinator. We paid him a visit to check out his wine cellar project and were looking for a lighter red to enjoy before heading to downtown Toledo for some entertainment.

Louis Bernard filled the bill in spades. From the first sniff, I could tell we would enjoy this wine. It is fruit forward with rounded tannins. The Grenache gives this a nice soft profile and it ripples with cherry and red fruit flavors.

A great pick for a casual evening with friends.

Rating: 3 of 5  Value: 5 of 5 (Based on a $10 price)