Sunday, August 28, 2016

2014 Attune Wines Pinot Noir Rose Sonoma County

Something magical happens when you fall in love with small production wines. Once the nectar touches your lips the quest to find the next gem consumes you. I can tell you this is one of the reasons I look forward to the showcased wines on Cellar Angels but more importantly it allows me to Sip, Save, Donate. Many of these wines are not distributed outside their wine region so without the drive of Young Martin Cody and the rest of the "Angels," we would never know about these beauties. He found a great one in Attune Wines and their 2014 Pinot Noir Rose.

Attune was just a flat piece of land until the arrival of Mike and Nancy Scribner. Once discovered the property was transformed with the planting of Pinot Noir and the estate was taking shape. Along came Ken and Debbie Venner who loved wine and headed for their own quest in wine country. After meeting Mike and Nance they too joined the business. Notice the pattern here. Passion, love of wine it's a natural migration to wine country. Add winemaker Kenneth Juhasz and his obsession for Pinot (my kind of winemaker), along with David Povlak as managing director,  Attune produces "wines of perfect harmony and balance that honor their source and all those who have a hand in their creation" Jason Campbell Sales Director has been there since the first bottle was produced. Great group.

Let's pop the cork. From the moment you pour the wine the ripe fruit races from the glass. Loads of red fruit in cherries, raspberries and strawberries with a kiss of floral notes (fresh cut rose pedal and day lillies). The mouth is lively with the strawberry, raspberry and cherry fruit so juicy. Wonderful clean refreshing finish and when the glass was empty my palate screamed more! This is 100% pinot noir and aged 5 months in neutral oak barrels. Only 130 cases produced.

If you would like to taste these offerings in the future then click the Become and Angel link and enjoy exquisite wines delivered to your door all while donating to worthy causes. It's easy, it's free to sign up, it's rewarding.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Winestudio Presents Rio Maggio Discovering Italian Wines Of Marche

*Wine Scholarship Samples*

We continue tonight again with guest Jonathan Zeiger and the wines of Rio Maggio and Centanni. Don't let the bottles fool you thinking 2 wines were sweet dessert juice. Not at all but yes I was fooled prior to pulling the corks. More beautiful views from the region and impressive juice. I asked Jonathan how they keep the costs down while maintaining such high quality. "The region being still undiscovered, low land costs and artisan traditions that have carried on through generations." Affordable for all wine drinkers anytime.

We started the evening with the Rio Maggio Pecorino. The grape is native to Marche and shows nicely on the nose and in the mouth. Toasted almond, honey, melon with floral notes and lime citrus. Grab your favorite seafood dish and pair this wine.

We made our way to the Rio Maggio Rosso Piceno as the second wine of the evening with it's lush fruit and spice. Rich dark berries with plum, raspberry, oak/smoke and a big spicy finish to start but as you allow the wine to warm in the glass the tannins calm ( I found this to be very true on the last wine as well). Just a tad young maybe but would I love to taste this again in 5-10 yrs. How good would this be with a rustic stew!

With the event 3/4 done we moved to the final wine the Centanni  Rosso Piceno and a glass cork (so much easier to replace in the bottle should you not drink all the wine in one evening). You feel like a king sipping this wine with its deep dark cherry notes, intertwined splashes of ripe raspberry, a smokey richness along with hints of leather and tobacco. Mature when you first open but the longer it remains in the glass we move right to elegance. I believe as I saw some of the tweets flash by one of the comments "Ooh this is good" might just need to be incorporated in your write up LOL.

Sadly the night ended but next week we have 3 final wines as we taste out way through Marche and Umbria.
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As many of you already know Italy was hit with a massive earthquake in the very region we are tasting. So many deaths and unbelievable destruction. This weekend was a time for celebration with many families traveling to the area. Kudos to Mike Madaio for providing a link Undiscovered Italy where you can donate, cook Amatriciana and open a bottle of Central Italian Red and show your support. Please consider helping!


Monday, August 22, 2016

Undiscovered Italy on WineStudio Sipping Colli Ripani

*wine scholarship samples*

Jonathan Ziegler of ZRG Imports and Wines Of Marche talked to us about this undiscovered region of Italy.Rustic regions of rolling hills, olive groves, small intimate towns with green pastures and tree groves is what you will find on your visit.Colli Ripani was born out of a cooperative of farmers back in 1969 which has now grown to over 300 small local growers. Plots are small mostly 2-4 hectares but let me tell you these growers know everything about each of their vines.You will find this in the quality of their wines and the best part so inexpensive. Pair with a multitude of dishes from root veggie to coastal seafood dishes.

Each wine tonight was an adventure starting with the 2014 Trebbiano and it's wild floral notes and citrus bonanza. I loved that kiss of lemon on the finish. Moving to the Verdicchio there was more stone fruit and minerality notes throughout the taste with a hint of melon/grapefruit. Pair this with chicken or seafood. We finished with the Rupe Nero Rosso Piceno a blend of 50% Montepulciano and 50% Sangiovese. I smelled this wine and immediately started talking like the Godfather. Jammy plum with hints of cherry, earthy notes and black tea this wine screamed Italian. While robust in the beginning the tannins were soft on the finish. Naturally I paired with a rich meat sauce over angel hair pasta. Makes you want to jump on the first plane to visit the region.

A huge thank you to Tina and Jonathan for introducing me to these three "new" wines and I look forward to next week and more Italian gems.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Balletto Vineyards An Evening Sipping Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

*Samples Received

Imagine graduating high school, giving up playing sports to help support your family due to the death of a parent. What John Balletto accomplished from a small 5acre plot growing vegetables with his mother to a highly successful winery today is truly inspirational. Today, they have over 600 acres in the Russian River Valley harvesting 10% for their own wines and selling the remaining 90%. The grapes they do harvest are the top 10% and allow them to produce consistent and quality wines. The Balletto Family Vineyards  philosophy "Our goal is that you enjoy drinking our wines as much as we enjoy making them."

Up first the 2013 Balletto Chardonnay Cider Ridge Vineyard. The clones picked were a combination of Wente and Robert Young, whole cluster pressed and barrel fermented with no commercial yeast. The wine was then aged in the barrel 18 months to soften the acidity. The vineyard is located 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean with the vines on the west facing slopes. the conditions are perfect for growing Chardonnay. The aromas on this wine are exceptional with a blast of cream and tangerine followed by pear, wild flowers with a kiss of honey/ginger. The mouth is lively and refreshing with green apple, honeydew melon and grated ginger. Lovely layers of flavor and so soft on the finish with a nice touch of acidity. Nicely done!

Second wine was the 2014 Balletto Pinto Noir BCD Vineyard. The grapes for this wine were specifically harvested to showcase the unique qualities of the estate vineyard while maintaining the natural acidity and keeping alcohol levels low. Fermented with indigenous yeast in open top tanks, the wine was then aged in French Oak Barrels with small amounts of new oak used to enhance the wine. The end result is a wine with "depth, structure and finesse".  The vineyard is located on rolling hills leading up to the Coastal mountain range. Cold fog flowing from the Pacific Ocean blankets the vineyard providing an ideal climate. The aromas are wonderful and music to my nose. Cherry, earthiness with orange peel, violets and a healthy spice. The mouth is juicy and classic RRV Pinot with bright cherry, wild raspberry, cloves and earthy tones. Serious great pinot!

Headed to Santa Rosa then a stop by the Balletto Vineyards Tasting Room is in order. Located at 5700 Occidental Road and open 10am to 5pm daily. Swing by for your tasting of their award winning lineup.