Wine Reviews: International Grab Bag

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 08-01-2020

Happy Saturday, folks. I’m back this week with a mix of wines from around the world, a lot of which are great options for summertime.

One of my favorite German producers, Peter Lauer, makes an appearance with a serious value of a Riesling. Domaine Wachau comes out swinging with a fun and inexpensive Gruner that is definitely worth checking out. And a smattering of different Rioja offers up a lot of quality and value that would be great with summer grill-outs.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Reviews: Argentina & Chile

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-18-2020

I’m excited to be back this week with some offerings from Argentina and Chile.

Domaine Bousquet’s organic “Virgen” reds dole out plenty of freshness and complexity for a crazy low price. I also have some crisp and deep Malbecs from some of the highest elevation vineyards in the world, Bodega Colomé. And Los Vascos continues to put out reliable, value-driven Chilean wines.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Reviews: Italy

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-11-2020

I’ve been at home for 17 weeks now, and the travel lust is in full swing. Unfortunately, here in the U.S. we are still in the middle of the first pandemic wave, and things look worse and worse these days. So, this week, to satiate my desire for travel and cheery myself up, I’m visiting a range of Italian wines.

The estate wines of Alois Lageder, in Italy’s Dolomiti region, are organic and biodynamic and really exciting. But I was pleasantly surprised to taste the quality and vibrancy in their Terra Alpina wines, which are sourced from different growers in the region. For the price, these wines offer this sense of regional typicity, depth, and “realness.”

I also tasted an impressive Super Tuscan at an entry-level price from Tenuta di Arceno, and some crushable Veneto wines from Pasqua. Lastly, Zenato’s Amarone makes me long for autumnal weather and slow-cooked meats.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Reviews: Monticello

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-04-2020

Considering today is Independence Day in the United States, I thought it fitting to highlight some recent samples from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

I’ve been a big fan and follower of Virginia wine since I moved to Washington, DC, about 12 years ago. I’ve had the privilege to taste many wines from all over the Commonwealth, but this week I’m highlighting wines from the Monticello AVA. Carrying on Thomas Jefferson’s wine vision for this region, some 33 wineries call this area home. The region is centered around Charlottesville, stretching toward the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains. If you’re ever travelling in the Mid-Atlantic (one can dream of post-pandemic wines, can’t one?) and looking for a wine trail adventure, this is a great place to start.

Stinson Vineyards makes two super-reliable pink wines from Tannat and Mourvedre. I’ve been tasting these wines for years now, and Rachel Stinson’s 2019s are true to form – some of my favorite rosés from the Commonwealth. The three red blends stem from a webinar I attended on the French influence in Virginia wine, curated by a great Virginia wine writer and ambassador, Frank Morgan. Matthieu Finot of King Family, Damien Blanchon of Afton Mountain, and Benoit Pineau of Pollak are all Frenchmen doing exciting things in Virginia, and the state’s wine industry is lucky to have them.

These wines were all received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Reviews: Merry Edwards

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 06-20-2020

Merry Edwards is an icon in California winemaking. She has a long history of blazing trails and making exceptional wine, from her days in the mid-70s working at Mount Eden, to becoming founding winemaker at Matanzas Creek in 1977, to creating her own consulting business and eventually her own eponymous wine brand in the 90s. Her well-deserved accolades are too many to list.

I’ve visited the Sonoma County winery several over the years, always tying it in with a visit to Joseph Swan, whose founder mentored Merry in the early days. Merry’s well-known Sauvignon Blanc has always excited me, but the single-vineyard Pinots and Chardonnay are what have kept me coming back to these wines year after year.

There have been some recent changes at Merry Edwards Winery. In 2018, Merry announced Heidi von der Mehden (who joined in 2015 as associate winemaker) would succeed her as winemaker, the first time anyone else held that position. Last year, the French firm Maison Louis Roederer purchased the winery. Despite these changes, I’m hoping the wines in the glass stay the same – delicious, exciting, memorable interpretations of their place. After tasting a few of their new releases, that sure seems to be the case.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Reviews: California New Releases

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 06-13-2020

I’m back this week with a roundup of some recent wine samples from all over California.

This week, I take a look at some wines from Carneros’ Ram’s Gate Winery, which bring some nationally-distributed Chardonnay and Pinot Noir worthy of checking out.

Napa’s Castello di Amorosa offers up some solid wines, but their Gewurztraminer (surprisingly) really stands out.

Cliff Lede provides two splurge-worthy Napa Cabernets that show depth, elegance, and aging potential.

And a couple other wines are sprinkled in for good measure. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Reviews: Inama

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 06-06-2020

I’ve been fascinated by the wines of Azienda Agricola Inama for quite a few years. Located in Soave Classico, winemaker Stefano Inama crafts classic Veneto wines with a lot of personality and depth, while also doing things a bit differently.

I have enjoyed this Veneto producer’s Soaves, sourced from sites Stefano’s father Giuseppe purchased in the 1960s near Mount Foscarino. But it was their Carmenère that really got me excited. Wine geeks surely know how this grape has found a new home in Chile after its history of being confused with Merlot in Bordeaux. It was brought to Italy from Southwest France some 150 years ago, where it was then commonly confused with Cabernet Franc. Regardless, in the warm, hilly area of the Colli Berici, the Carmenère grape has a found a home in which to thrive. When I met and tasted with Stefano in 2016, he told me, “Carmenere requires such an addiction.” And that intense focus on this grape is evident in the glass.

I recently tasted through some newly released wines from Inama, and I continue to find these wines to be great examples their region, while offering a sense of dynamism and excitement that makes them stand out.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Reviews: Rosé

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 05-23-2020

It’s the unofficial start to “summer” here in the northern hemisphere this weekend. But what even is summer in these pandemic times? My plans for everything are cancelled, but I’m healthy and thankful.

And the annual arrival of new rosé wines offers some sense of normalcy amidst the chaos. I’ve been receiving a lot of new pink wines from France and America, new and old (to me) wines that offer some solace in these strange times, which are reviewed below.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Reviews: California Chardonnay & Pinot Noir

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 05-09-2020

Happy weekend, wine-lovers. I hope you’re all as safe and well as can be expected during these chaotic times. I’m back this week with two of my first wine loves: California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

My palate will always favor the more “Burgundian” styles, but I also enjoy and respect the juicier, darker styles as well. This report has a nice mix of producers, regions and styles. There are some serious values in here as well.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Reviews: California New Releases

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 04-25-2020

Happy Saturday, folks. I hope you’re all healthy and handling these pandemic times as well as can be expected. I’m still receiving lots of samples, and the delivery drivers have been great about social distancing, and I’m making sure to wash my hands after handling wine boxes!

Over these past few weeks at home, I’ve been receiving a lot of samples from California, mostly from producers I know well.

We’ve got some interesting Albarino from Lodi worth checking out, and a delicious Sonoma Roussanne as well. Even if you’re like me, and skeptical of Napa Sauv Blanc, Galerie’s Naissance Sauvignon Blanc is something really special. I also have some Napa Cabernets that deliver a lot of goodness and value.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »