Posts tagged Merlot
Wine Recommendations An Unexpected "Upshot" of a Weekend at Hamilton College

I was with my husband's college friends and their spouses last weekend. While letting our husbands relive their days at Hamilton College - yes, named after the US Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton - all of the other women agreed (unprovoked by me) that they buy wine based on their favorite grape variety then on the wine label appearance. I encouraged a few to look into blends to expand their palate "horizons", and these Rodney Strong Vineyards Upshot wines are ones that I would absolutely recommend to them all!

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A Dual Continent Winemaking Project: Casadei and Cline

Seven years ago Stefano Casadei and Fred Cline met over dinner for the first time. Now they are making a wine named Casadei, a total heart-throb red, together. That's not all. The Cline family is importing Stefano's Castello del Trebbio wines, too. Saluti!

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Rodney Strong Over-Delivers on This Quintet

This array of Rodney Strong wines over-delivers for its price points. Per my previous post, this isn’t surprising. They have a smartly balanced oak influence, meaning that any new oak flavors present are well-integrated and don’t over take the fresh fruit nuances. They also do a terrific job of showing regional and varietal typicity. I’ll gladly endorse these, especially the Chardonnay Chalk Hill and the Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley.

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What Happened? Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia 2015

Those who follow wine closely know that it is a living drink. Like people, wine has good and bad days. 

I deeply hoped this 2015 Le Serre Nuove was having a bad day when I first tasted it professionally then drank it over several hours with dinner. It was astonishingly disappointing. A second bottle was modestly more satisfying but effectively identical. It certainly did not live up to my standard for Le Serre Nuove, a wine that I have tasted in its various phases – different winemakers, blends, vintages and so forth – for almost two decades.

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The Gamble of Generations: Investing in a Napa Valley Vineyard & Winery

The French have a saying that it takes three generations to see the cycle of a family business: one to build it, one to grow it then one to destroy it. I don’t know what the rest of the Gamble family farming business looks like today, but I can say that the “Gamble” of generations has paid off on the wine front. It seems Tom has started a new cycle, without finishing the first one!

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Barone Ricasoli – Castello di Brolio Duo

What a fascinating comparison of a Riserva and a Gran Selezione from the same cellar and vintage! There is a clear sibling resemblance via the fervent focus on savoriness. I would love to taste these again together in five then in ten years time to see how they evolve. I am confident that neither will disappoint.

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Faust 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon: Worth a Pact with Mephistopheles

Faust 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley: This is quintessential Napa Cabernet – in taste and in sourcing. It has a tantalizing succulence corralled by vivacious structure. The tannins are hedonistically velvety and the refreshment is almost electric – perfect for harnessing the richness of the densely textured and generously full-bodied palate.

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An Intro to Intrinsic Wine Company

Washington winemaker Juan Muñoz-Oca takes wine craftsmanship to a zany new place with these two wines under the premise that the environment affects winemaking like it does street art. As it is true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it is also in the glass of the imbiber.

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Joel Gott: 20 Years Under $20

This was Joel Gott’s 20th vintage, after having started his business when he saw the demand for wines under $20 back in 1996. This is a blend not only of grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Malbec and Cabernet Franc), but also of regions (Lake County, Monterey and Lodi) with the aim of making a wine of harmony.

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Harmony, Grace & Thoughtfulness - Man & Bottle

I often think can find the winemaker in the wine, and yet again, that is the case with David Ramey’s 2016 Claret. On paper this bottling looks like a precise, acrobatic exercise in blending…. Yet from the first to the last drop, this fusion radiates harmony, grace and thoughtfulness, just like the man behind the juice. 

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Joseph Wagner’s New Projects: Böen and Elouan

Joseph Wagner grew up in a Napa Valley family legend in-the-making, Caymus Vineyards. In establishing his own brands, he has impressively translated his understanding of “what the consumer wants” into a series of “must haves” that have largely been based on Pinot Noir rather than Caymus’ Cabernet Sauvignon. Staking out on his own, Joseph previously created the much-loved Belle Glos Pinot Noir line-up as well as Meiomi, the latter now under the ownership of Constellation Brands.)

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Arínzano Wines – It’s All About the Pago

An arínzano is an agricultural estate that showcases unique vineyards, and this winery was the first estate in northern Spain to be endowed with the prestigious Vinos de Pago classification. The term pago is a nod to the Greek “pagus”, or property. The idea behind these wines is that they are entirely unique because of their provenance, or terroir, in wine geek speak. In sum, pago equals prestige, as the classification is set up.

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A Tour of Bulgaria in a Glass

Having visited Bulgaria twice for the Balkans International Wine Competition and having visited several wineries, I was thrilled when I was contacted to taste through a large number of Bulgarian wines coming into the US market.

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Bordeaux’s 2016 Vintage – An En Primeur That At Last Is (Mostly) A Pleasure To Taste

Bordeaux En Primeur 2016 was my first, verging-on-excellence En Primeur campaign. The top end turned out wines that were easy to be choosy about. So much the better when you’re forking over big digits two years before you receive the wines. The vintage also allowed for plenty of charming wines that will be pleasant to drink as well as ones that are overly ambitious. Regardless the appellation, it was exciting to see who teased out just a bit more of everything in their expressions of the vintage through their terroir.

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Hungarian Wines Today – It’s Hard to Know Where to Home In

With many reviving sectors of the lesser-known or somewhat forgotten corners of the wine world, it is easy to think there is just one region, one style or one grape. It happens often elsewhere. Just think of the US, California, Napa Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon. There’s a lot more to California wine than this one hallmark. So, it is no surprise that in a less well-known region like Hungary, stereotypes and simplifications happen all the time.

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An Overview of Crown Range Cellar from New Zealand

Grant P Taylor 2015 Pinot Noir Central Otago: This is brilliant Kiwi Pinot Noir. Stuffed with ripe boysenberries and tart cranberries, it runs through the full range of red and black fruits from the time you crack the capsule until you pour the last dribble.

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Thoughts & Scores from 2015 Bordeaux En Primeur

Another year, another en primeur campaign. How long this system can sustain itself? It seems every year the fuse gets shorter. What 2015 offers is a highly mixed bag. There’s something for everyone, but without careful research, everyone may not love what he or she purchases.

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Mullan Road Cellars 2013 Red Blend Columbia Valley

Winemakers often feel the need to stretch their boundaries. While I’ve heard of a number of Sonoma Pinot Noir makers heading to Oregon for fruit, I’ve not heard similar stories about Napa-ites reaching north. Until now. It turns out that in 2012, Dennis Cakebread ushured in a new era for his wildly successful family business.

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