I’ve tried a couple of new wines lately. Both white. Both very good. I thought I’d better try a couple more whites before Fall settles in.
Simply Naked Unoaked Chardonnay, California 2010. This Chardonnay is not oaked- aged, just how I like it. It is instead fermented in stainless steel, which allows the true fruit flavors to shine through.
Simply Naked is a very approachable medium-bodied white wine with a crisp fruit taste. I definitely tasted a strong green apple flavor. A good choice even if you’re not a Chardonnay lover. Without the oak, you don’t get that buttery flavor. Just under $10.
Root 1 Sauvignon Blanc 2012. This Chilean white wine has the typical acidity and citrus taste of a Sauvignon Blanc. Light-bodied, crisp and a little tart, with flavors of grapefruit and lemon. One of the better Sauv Blancs I’ve had for the price. About $10-$11.
I think the evenings this weekend will feel a little more Fall-like. It might be a great time to try Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet-Merlot 2010.
This California red blend consists of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. Although considered a full-bodied wine, I would classify it as medium-bodied.
Deliciously smooth and easy to drink. It has flavors of blackberry and cherry, with hints of vanilla and some oaky spice. It’s fruity and jammy with a nice finish.
A great value at less than $15.
Every once in a while I’m in the mood for a sweeter wine (remind me to tell you my story about the Bota Box wine).
I opened a Riesling that was left over from my wine exchange back in January – one that I’ve never tried it.
Long Lake 2009 Riesling is a California wine with melon, apple and some citrus flavors. I prefer a Riesling from Germany, but this one was pretty tasty. Very aromatic, which is typical of this grape variety. Not overly dry or overly sweet. It was crisp and easy to drink, which can be dangerous.
I give this wine a Pink Happy Face! Apologies…for some reason I am not able to insert the Pink Happy Face image. Working on that.
A few thoughts this year, first, I seem to have been excited about the right things. The ability to try different style of the same grape within seconds of each other is one of the key opportunities of the wine festival. For example, I was able to taste the Simi Sauvignon Blanc, a nice example of Californian style SB, and across the aisle was Thorny Rose, which had a very nice counter example of New Zealand styled SB. The grassiness was even more pronounced when directly compared with the more acidic California counterpart.
If you are looking for a really nice selection of Rieslings from different regions and sweetness, Schmitt Sohne and Estates (booth 107) had a very nice selection of 5 different wines.
The still Pedro (booth 2) was a really nice wine and helps to show another side to what is usually made into sherry. McNab (booth 28) was as solid as always and highly recommended for a stop. Valeta had a Vijiriega that was a nice native Spanish grape that I had never tried before. It had a distinct mineral flavor that helps to showcase something unique to the region.
The sparkling wines were worth their own pass, but were mostly in the lower numbered booths. Vinum (booth 7) had a very nice showing with both their sparkling and a nice rhone based white wine. Across the aisle, Terry Theise selections had two examples of grower Champagne that helped to show the difference between a wine with Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir as the lead varietal.
Cutting Edge (especially booth 32) showcased a rather wide selection of wines. The 2011 wines from the pacific northwest were all tasting extremely well. The Four Grace Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris were both examples of this well made wine from that year. Learning more about the overall growing season from 2011, makes me interested in what other wines I can find from that year to try.
Michael David (booth 38) also had a very strong showing of their selection. Petite Petite, Rage, and Incognito were all very good. Ferrari Carrano (booth 42) had a very nice “patio pounder” with BellaLuce. It was also a part of a large number of stainless steel fermented wines. Oak seemed to be less of a consideration from most places that focused on having the grape do most of the work. Trinchero (booth 76) also provided a nice range of red wines.
To end the tasting, I would recommend Wineworth Importers (at booth 6) to try through a really nice selection of ports. The ten year old, which can be found in half bottles for around $20 in Kentucky, had a great almond flavor. When you get to the vintage 1996 port, the nuttiness and sweetness become apparent. I also learned that they avoid loosing large amounts of the vintage by combining barrels and reducing the amount of exposure to the air. This means that one barrel was sacrificed every few years to top off the others. It was a new piece of information for me.
I tried to get to as many different places as possible, what did I miss? Was there another star of the show? Let me know in the comments,
I’m happy to see what everyone else enjoyed.
Stop the presses! Brad and Angelina are releasing their very own vino. No doubt they can as they own a 1,000-acre estate in Southwestern France. Plus they’re rich and famous.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt will release a 2012 vintage pink rosé, Miraval, sometime in mid-March – the grapes harvested from their vineyards in France. The wine, named after Pitt and Jolie’s Chateau, is a result of a partnership with French winegrower Marc Perrin.
Plans are already underway to release white wines this summer. Will you try the power couple’s new wines?
If you like tea and wine, this just may be your drink. I saw this in the March issue of InStyle Magazine – wine-flavored tea. Vintage TeaWorks makes a variety of loose teas in celebration of several wine flavors, including:
Each canister makes about 30 to 35 cups and price range is $15.99-$18.99. www.vintageteaworks.com.
FREE Friday Aisle Tastings at The Party Source
This Friday, February 22, The Party Source in Bellevue continues their Friday Wine in the Aisles Tastings. This week they will be pouring several Zinfandels and Zinfandel-based blends.
The Friday series takes place from 4-8 p.m. The tastings are free and no reservations are required. Here is a list of the next four tastings and the wines that will be featured:
February 22 – Zinfandels
March 1 – Chilean wines
March 8 - International wines & wines from Kentucky’s Lover’s Leap Winery
March 15 - South African wines
For details about these and other Wine Tastings happening at the Party Source, visit their website.
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