Sunday, June 23, 2013

2012 Passaggio Rose' "Rose Colored Glasses" Napa Valley

Rose' a versatile wine not just for warm days but anytime. Tonight's wine from Cynthia Cosco winemaker/owner of Passaggio Wines was her 2012 Rose' from the beautiful Napa Valley . Created from 65% Carneros Merlot and 35% Napa Cabernet, the wine exhibits layers of fruit with a wonderful minerality on the finish. Big fan of Cindy's wines!

Ripe strawberry with fresh pomegranate treat the nose. Swirl some more the juice releases raspberry and cherry with a hint of fresh tea. Crisp and refreshing....time for a taste.

Love how the flavors flow naturally on the tongue and mouth. Strawberry and cherry followed by sun tea with a spritz of pomegranate. Hints of cranberry the more I sip. The finish is long and juicy with mineral notes. Complex and so refreshing! Well done Cindy!

Visit her website plus check out Cindy's blog Here to keep up on the latest Passaggio wine news and release information. Next time your looking for that friendly sipper think Rose....Passaggio Rose.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Kramer Vineyards Virtual Taste 2102 Rose of Carmine and 2009 Carmine Big Red

Always stoked when I have the opportunity to taste a new wine and tonight's were both special from Kramer Vineyards a 2012 Rose Of Carmine "Little Red" and the 2009 Carmine "Big Red". The event dubbed #TasteKramerWine on Twitter encompassed my friends from all across the country including the winemaker who answered many of our questions while we tasted/tweeted. These are super fun events and a great way to compare your thoughts with others and really see how different our palates react.

Carmine is a hybrid (yes I used the term don't shoot me) of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carignane originally developed as an alternative Cabernet in the California cool coast regions. Known as a late budder and ripener, these grapes offer wines which are intense in color, aroma and ample tannins. Name 2 states who plant a good amount of these grapes for wine production. If you answered Oregon and Michigan then treat yourself to a glass.

First up I tasted the 2012 Rose Of Carmine which offered a luscious strawberry nose sprinkled with peach notes and fresh cut rose pedals. Allowing the wine to open slightly more in the glass hints of watermelon and dried herbs. Aromatic rose we have here!

My buddy Dezel had to laugh when I commented I'm in "Rose' Heaven" after my first sip. The strawberry/watermelon is so juicy and lingers long while the peach and white pepper splash complete the wine. I love the layers of flavor and how well this grape works in a rose'. Pairing this wine with a nice bbq rib dinner would be awesome!

Next the big boy 2009 Carmine "Big Red". Excellent fruit aromas of blackberry, raspberry and plum. The spice notes are big (cloves, pepper, herbs) with a nice hint of vanilla and toasty oak. Absolutely pleasing to the nose!

Wow is the word when I tasted. Ripe fruit with raspberry, blackberry, plum and even cherry. The spice and vanilla greats your palate the longer you hold the juice in your mouth while the finish is elegant and somewhat silky. Little bit of tannin on the finish. I paired this wine with my porcupine meatballs slathered in marinara sauce and what a pairing. I believe our esteemed winemaker proclaimed "Carmine loves red sauce". I couldn't agree more. Dezel commented if this were a blind tasting he would have thought the wine was "Barbera". Mr Beau always has to one up all of us and said "This is the best carmine I have ever tasted". Little bias there as he is about to be family LOL.

Kim thanks for including me and introducing me to a grape I knew nothing about. Once again spoiled by your wines. Maybe the next virtual taste hashtag should be #alwaysdrinkkramerwine LOL. Folks make sure you check out Kramer Vineyards website including their story and wines which they produce. If you happen to visit Oregon wine country stop in for a visit......they will be more than happy to pour you a few glasses.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2011 Garnet Vineyards Pinot Noir Monterey County

I was asked to participate in a Wednesday forum discussion lead by Bill Eyer aka Cuvee_Corner featuring winemaker Alison Crowe and her 2011 Garnet Vineyards Pinot Noir Monterey County. So honored because this is a very nice Pinot for under $20 ($15 to be exact).

Garnet is known for setting the standard, value and style for New World Pinot. Alison carefully nurtures the grapes from vine to bottle allowing the vineyard character to be front and center in each sip. Carefully selected small lots produce elegant affordable wines which taste well above their price point.

Big ripe cherry with cinnamon spice and a nice earthy mushroom. Vanilla bean with hints of faint toasted oak. Excellent combination of fruit and spice makes for an inviting nose.

I had 2 profound comments when tasting this wine "Best Damn Pinot Under $20" and "I'm in Heaven" The mouth is full of rich velvet cherry and creamy vanilla. A warm spice on the finish lingers long with the fruit. A touch of toasty oak completes the wine. Juicy and elegant....pour me another glass please!

Alison my thanks to you for the opportunity to participate in this tasting. Bill your a great host of #Winechat. Looking for quality juice then look no further than Garnet Vineyard Wines I guarantee you will love them.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2011 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone North Coast Red Rocks

I have been tasting Cornerstone Wines for the last 4 years courtesy of Mr Camp, who I must thank for introducing me to this juice. Stepping Stone wines were created from the same barrels and vineyards as it's mother Cornerstone. Rather than age for many years, Red Rocks is meant to enjoy now with friends or paired with your favorite dish (as all Stepping Stone Wines). Each vintage has a different flair and character which is what I enjoy most. Tonight's wine doesn't disappoint!

Tons of jammy dark and red fruit. Blackberry, cherry, raspberry and strawberry with white pepper and wild violet notes. Very inviting nose with just the right touch of sassy.

Soft yet packing tons of fruit flavor. Juicy raspberry and cherry with a blackberry/strawberry blast. The finish lingers with the pepper spice bringing everything together. Let the wine sit in the glass and it opens to this beautiful silky elegant juice. This may just be the best Red Rocks vintage of all time!

Stop, sip and enjoy your own Stepping Stone by Cornerstone wines the next time you visit Napa and Sonoma. They are definite palate pleasers.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Passaggio 2012 New Generation Unoaked Chardonnay

Unoaked Chardonnay has become very popular in recent years especially those created by winemaker Cynthia Cosco owner/winemaker of Passaggio Wines . Known for their fruit forward characteristics these wines are very food friendly or conversational sippers whichever you prefer. "Follow Your Passion" Cindy's motto, can be witnessed each time you speak with her or taste wine at a pouring. She loves being a winemaker and believes something magical happens when you bring wine and friends together.

The grapes for Passaggio's Chardonnay are from the Lodi region of California. Tonight's wine aromas are ripe pear and pineapple, with hints of red apple. A nice lemon/lime citrus greets your nose as you continue to swirl. Crisp and refreshing!

In the mouth fresh honeydew melon, crisp pear, lemon and lime zest and a touch of minerality. As the wine warms more tropical fruit notes. One of the first unoaked chardonnay's in my cellar, each vintage continues to please my palate. I served the wine with baked chicken drizzled in olive oil and fresh italian herbs along with creamy rice pilaf. What a pairing! Cindy you nailed it again....exactly why I continue to drink your wines!

You can find Passaggio Wines online or stop by the Dogpatch Wine Works to get your personal tasting and meet the winemaker. Looking to join a great wine club then The Passionistas Wine Club is just for you. Save 20% on all wine everyday all year! Maybe the winemaker will even sign a bottle or 2!


Friday, June 14, 2013

Torre De Gazate Cosecha 2011 LaMancha Spain Tempranillo

Who really digs Tempranillo? Yes this guy and what better than a Spanish Tempranillo (sample provided). La Mancha is not only one of Spains largest wine regions but the oldest. Soils are high in limestone and chalk which allow the vines a perfect water supply. Tempranillo is the most popular wine variety from this region and yes there are other grapes grown as well.

On the nose a nice smokey dusty oak and plum dominate. I pick up some blackberry, raspberry, cherry along with tobacco, herbal notes and a touch of leather. As the wine opens the red fruit really shows its character.

Delicious blackberry, raspberry and plum with a nice little toasty vanilla character. The finish is soft dominated by the plum and earthy herbs. I served this wine with a rustic beef stew, root vegetables and fresh herbs. The wine and the food were a big hit. Try serving the wine with grilled cheese burgers too.

Spanish wine.....have you tasted some lately!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay Limari Valley and Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley Chile

Wines of Chile are becoming popular in my house and among friends who stop by for a personal tasting (barge in is more like it). Tonight I uncorked the 2011 Chardonnay and 2012 Pinot Noir. Fruit forward and easy drinking these wines are very food friendly. So busy traveling the past month and thankfully it's concluded. Cutting into my wine time makes for a grumpy wino LOL.

The 2011 Chardonnay was the first Chilean wine to find a way to my glass. Rich vanilla, ripe green apple with hints of fresh pear. Continue to swirl and melon with a nice allspice treats the nose.

Love the mouth on this wine. Apple and pear with hints of lemon citrus and a touch of oak. Excellent medium bodied wine with nice fruit and acidity. Great wine to start the evening.

The 2012 Pinot Noir was next in the glass. Huge cherry, cinnamon clove aroma right from the start. Strawberry with earthy mushroom notes. Nice nose.

The mouth juicy cherry with strawberry and cranberry. Just a touch of clove with a splash of cocoa and mocha. The finish reveals fresh ground cinnamon along with the fruit. Complex little pinot.

Watch for more tasting notes on additional bottles of Casillero del Diablo. Try some Chilean wine today!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Las Lilas and Cruzeiro Branco Vinho Verde

Amidst all the hustle and bustle of daily life, it's so relaxing to sit and enjoy a glass of white wine. Sharing with friends or kicking the feet up on the screen porch, white should be a staple in your cellar. I have tasted many of the Vinho Verde wines and really enjoy them.

First wine is the Las Lilas with its nose of citrus. Lemon/Lime with fresh melon, cantaloupe and peach. Feels like I'm standing on the coastline of Portugal with the sea breeze in my face as I sniff this crisp wine. Nice mouth with bright lemon and peach. Fresh honeydew melon with hints of cantaloupe and a lemon lime finish.

Unfortunately the Cruzeiro Branco bottle had leaked in the packaging and once the foil was removed the cork had pushed out so no tasting for that bottle.

Grab a bottle or 5 of the wines of Vinho Verde. I think you will enjoy their quality and price.