Sunday, October 30, 2016

For the Love Of Australia Two Hands Wine on #Winestudio

*Samples Received*

What a treat in October as I participated once again on #winestudio with this series focusing on Two Hands Wine an Australian Winery. In all I had the pleasure of learning and tasting 5 different wines showcasing the Picture Series and Garden Series. Before we talk about the differences let me tell you first about Two Hands.

In September 1999 Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz decided at a friends engagement party that they would pool their resources and start making their own wine. Their original vision was to make the the best Shiraz -based wines from the very best regions and vineyards in Australia. That focus still exists today. "Quality without Compromise" and as Michael will tell you he has walked every vineyard and tasted every barrel of his wines to ensure the quality of his wines. That takes personally to all all new perspective. To have that much passion for perfection is why these wines are cherished around the world.

Earlier I said we tasted the Picture Series and the Garden Series. The Picture Series has inspiration and a take on pop culture. These wines are are meant to be fun and approachable. Think of what fun you will have telling your friends you are sipping "Sexy Beast, Gnarly Dudes or even Angels' Share" just to name a few. The Garden Series consists of top fruit from six of the absolute best Shiraz growing regions in Australia. These wines you will find showcase each regions soil, climate and unique vineyard profile. It was my pleasure to have sipped Bella's Garden and Lily's Garden.

Enjoyed the month speaking with winemaker Ben Perkins and a host of bloggers/winelovers across the country learning about Two Hands from bottle closure (screw cap and cork) to soil, climate and vineyard specifics. Also amazed at the daily tasting of the winery barrels to ensure quality and consistency.

We started with the Picture Series and me in particular went straight to Sexy Beast (no not the name my wife gave me). This Cabernet Sauvignon from the McLaren Vale Region was named for Ben Kingsley and his 2000 British crime scene role where he was named Sexy Beast. The nose was quite aromatic with rich plum, raspberry, a hint of dark cherry intertwined with dried herbs, earth and a faint dust nuance. The mouth was beautiful with the plum and dark cherry surrounded by a nice splash of raspberry along with spice and earthy tones. As the wine opens a lovely hint of dark chocolate. I found myself having a hard time letting go of this wine!

The second wine Gnarly Dudes (again not named for me but damn close) was 100% Shiraz from teh Barossa Valley and truly was named for the gnarly old vines which produce this tasty juice. The nose was full of lush blackberries and plum with hints of lavender, pepper spice and smoky cedar. The mouth nice ripe plum and blackberry with pepper and spice and cedar notes. Watch this open in the glass over the course of an hour and various intervals and you will be amazed at how the profile changes.

Final wine of the picture series was the Angels' Share named for those up above who watched over the wines and had a sip or two. This wine is 100% Shiraz from the McLaren Vale Appellation. Blueberries and plums oh my along with floral lavender notes and baking spice. Gave me the sensation of a warm baked pie! The mouth is rich with blueberry and plum followed by wild violets and black licorice. A hint of oak on the finish. Anything with blueberry makes me smile

On to the Garden Series and up first Lily's Garden named after Michael's daughter. The wine is 100% Shiraz from the McLaren Vale Vineyards. Loads of blueberry and plum on the nose with baking spice and a hint of smoke. The mouth was luscious with warm blueberries and plums. The spice complimented the fruit and the finish was so soft and elegant. I had opened this an hour before drinking reconnected day 2 and my how this wine opened up. My comment on the interaction on the program was "this wine is like a sweet innocent daughter" and my favorite of the wines tasted.

Finally I ended with Bella's Garden the more masculine of the wines. 100% Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Deeper notes in the aroma and on the palate. As soon as the cork is pulled a puff of smoke hits the nose. I also opened this an hour before sipping and upon the pour blackberries, floral notes, leather, dark chocolate and spice. The mouth is meaty with rich blackberry, choclate and spice with a kiss of floral herbs on the finish. The smoky oak nuances subside the longer you taste and allow the wine to open. This by far was the biggest wine of the 5.

Thanks #winestudio for another superb session of wine knowledge. A huge thanks to Tina, Ben, Michael for allowing me to sip and chat about Two Hands wines. Loved the wines and my first serious session on great Australian juice.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

2013 Passaggio New Generation Grenache Paso Robles

My friends chirp at me all the time about being spoiled drinking small production wine. All I can say is "guilty as charged!" Today we sip the 2013 Passaggio Wines Grenache. The grapes for this gem came from Paso Robles and really showcases Cindy's versatility as a winemaker. Give her great grapes and she will make great wine.

I've watched and sipped her wines for better that 9 years now and the growth of her brand is inspiring. From the early days of Crushpad, to the excitement of increased production at Dogpatch and now her own winery close to her tasting room in Sonoma (picture caption "I have to make a lot of wine to fill this place up"). Today, the smile is big and the popularity of her wines is ever increasing. Just recently her tasting room was full of fans tasting and purchasing some recent new release wines. The pick up parties are a gathering of old and new friends of Passaggio in an inviting warm tasting room. A must stop when in the Sonoma Square.

The first thing I notice is how light the color of this wine is in the glass. Aromas of raspberry, strawberry and cherry with a nice white pepper spice treat the nose. The flavors are soft and elegant with juicy cherry, raspberry and a nice tart cranberry. The white pepper spice is faint on the finish. An all around delicious wine from Cindy's portfolio and drinking so well right now. I would say this is a 90+ rated wine!

Purchase your very own bottles of Passaggio Wines online or by visiting the tasting room. Either way you are in for a real treat.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Dynamic Duo Concha Y Toro Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Carmenere and Sauvignon Blanc

*Samples received*

Always solid wines from this producer and tonight's offerings are no exception. We sipped the 2014 Carmenere from the Peumo Vineyard and the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc from the Ucuquer Vineyard. Both wines are grown near the rivers of Chile formed by the rushing meltwater of the snow on the peaks of the Andes Mountains. The result is rich soil perfect for growing grapes.

The Carmenere is my favorite for its rich aroma and equally elegant flavor. The nose showcases dark fruit with ripe blueberry with a hint of blackberry and plumb. A subtle pepper spice with a hint of earthiness round out the wine. The mouth is dominated by blueberry, cherry, blackberry, raspberry and plum followed by a hint of vanilla. A quick splash of pepper spice on the finish with ultra soft tannins. I could drink this all day.

The Sauvignon Blanc is another equally delicious wine. Loads of lime citrus and tropical grapefruit with hints of stone fruit. The mouth is vibrant with lime citrus and fresh squeezed grapefruit and tangerine.Crisp with a nice long juicy finish. I paired this with chicken on a bed of lime cilantro rice. Excellent pairing

These wines are ideal on the pocketbook yet flavor packed. If you like wines of Chile then these are a must.