Say hello to Scion, not a cheap car but a $3,200 port

taylor fladgate scion Say hello to Scion, not a cheap car but a $3,200 port
On Wednesday, Adrian Bridge, managing director of Taylor-Fladgate, unveiled to New York wine writers a new port. Or make that an old port: it was made in 1855, before phylloxera ravaged European vineyards.

An elderly lady of a “respected family” in the Duoro recently died with no heirs. She left much of her estate to Portuguese social security and the lawyers wanted to sell off the casks of old port to liquidate assets. Family records showed that the casks dated to 1855, a single vintage tawny, or cask-aged style. (Technically, a Colheita, a single-vintage, cask aged port. Vintage port, by contrast, does most of its aging in the bottle.) Through evaporation, the wine became concentrated yet the casks contained enough port to fill 1,400 bottles. The management at Taylor originally purchased the casks to add to their 40-year-old tawny, but, upon tasting it, they decided it merited a special bottling and have done so calling it “Scion.” In case you were thinking about picking up a six-pack on the way home for work–at a mere $3,200

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How To Pronounce Willamette

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It's Willamette Dammit! T-Shirt

Photo from Willamette Valley Vineyards store

One of the dangers of being a wine podcaster is you have to say wine terms and regions out loud. It’s hard enough to keep everything spelled correctly and often over the years I’ve made some embarrassing mistakes on the podcast.

But the one that is probably most distressing for me was my butchering of Oregon’s Willamette Valley in Winecast 8. This provided an opportunity for Willamette Valley Vineyards President Jim Bernau to set me straight in Winecast 62 with a bit of good-natured ribbing. I only mention this embarrassing episode now since I am seeing a fair amount of search traffic for “pronounce willamette.”

So, for the record, the correct pronunciation of Willamette as it relates to the Oregon wine region is “Will-AM-it” as in “It’s Will-AM-it, damit!”

I have also made a note to add another podcast on the region to my things to do list so I can

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Thacher Winery 2008 Triumvirate Zinfandel

Super Award Winners, 2011 Winemaker Challenge International

Four V. Sattui wines advanced to the championship round, with its 2008 V. Sattui Pilgrim Vineyard Zinfandel ($30) besting the field of more than 700 entries, to win Winemaker Challenge Wine of the Year. Last week’s Winemaker Challenge is one of the few U.S. wine competitions that utilize winemakers exclusively to evaluate its entries. Other super-award wining wines included:

Best of Show Sparkling Wine
Gloria Ferrer Brut, Sonoma County ($20)

Best of Show White Wine
Fallbrook Winery 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, California ($16)

Best of Show Dessert Wine
Lambouri 2000 Commandaria Legacy, Cyprus ($14)

Best of Class Chardonnay
Chateau Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge Estate Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills ($24)

Best of Class Pinot Noir
J. Lohr 2009 ‘Fog’s Reach’ Pinot Noir, Arroyo Seco ($25)

Best of Class Red Bordeaux Blend
J. Lohr 2007 Cuvee ST. E, Paso Robles ($50)

Best of Class Cabernet Sauvignon
V. Sattui 2008 Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($55)

Best of Class Syrah
Rocca 2007 Grigsby Vineyard Syrah, Yountville ($45)

For more information, click here.


Article source: http://www.alawine.com/archives/02-01-2011_02-28-2011.html#707

Not All Rhônes are Red

I love red Rhône blends. They’re zesty, spicy, and offer great value. Even wines from well-known appellations like Châteauneuf-du-Pape are relatively inexpensive when judged by the standards of Bordeaux and Burgundy.

Most wine drinkers are not as well-acquainted with the delicious white blends that are made with Rhône varietals such as Grenache Blanc, Viognier, and Marsanne. These whites are classy, elegant, and provide a welcome break from the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc you might be drinking.

Rhône whites can be a bit pricey, in part because three quarters of the grapes grown in the region are red. But Rhône varietals are also grown in the US and in other parts of the world and can provide a good starting point if you want to learn more about these wines.

One great example of a Rhône white blend, for instance, is the 2008 Eberle Cotes-du-Robles Blanc from Paso Robles (suggested retail $24; available in the market for $20-$29). This delicious blend of Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, and Viognier has aromas and flavors that are reminiscent of a summer day, with lots of pear, Golden Delicious apples, and even a touch of apricot. Rhône whites typically have herbal notes as

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Taylor Fladgate’s fine 20-year-old tawny

taylor fladgate 10 20 tawny Taylor Fladgates fine 20 year old tawny

I don’t drink a lot of port. But a glass of tawny every now and then can be fun, even in the absence of Stilton, a roaring fire or a bearskin rug. In December, I poured some ports at the end of a tasting and they were more popular than I had imagined. One fifty-something participant commented how much he liked them but that he didn’t have the time in the winter to sit around and drink them. So he resolved to try a port in the summer. Indeed, that’s what those in the trade often do in Portugal, putting a 10- or 20-year-old tawny in the fridge and serving it chilled on a summer afternoon.

Last week I had the chance to taste through the lineup of Taylor’s tawny ports, from the 10-year-old to the 40-year-old. I’ll cut to the chase: I thought the 20-year-old was the most complete package, especially considering price.

I tasted them in the company of Adrian Bridge, managing director of Taylor who was in town to show off the new/old Scion, a cask-aged

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Glen Ellen, Petite Sirah 2007

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Glen Ellen Petite Sirah 2007Wines in the “fighting varietal” section of the wine store don’t get a lot of wine blog love. Nor do they get reviewed very much in the mainstream wine press leaving the inquiring consumer to consult Google for information. And I get a lot of incoming search traffic every time I review such a wine.

But I’m not reviewing this wine for the traffic but because it surprised me at how drinkable an industrial California $5 wine can be. Glen Ellen as a fighting varietal brand has been with us since the mid-1980′s producing a number of different wines available mostly in 1.5 Liter bottles. But it has been only recently that they have been relaunched as a sort of second label of Concannon Vineyards, the first producer of varietal labeled Petite Sirah. And judging by this effort, some of the winemaking practices for the variety have rubbed off.

Tasting notes:

Glen Ellen,

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Best of Class Syrahs, 2011 San Francisco Wine Competition

Super Award Winners, 2011 Winemaker Challenge International

Four V. Sattui wines advanced to the championship round, with its 2008 V. Sattui Pilgrim Vineyard Zinfandel ($30) besting the field of more than 700 entries, to win Winemaker Challenge Wine of the Year. Last week’s Winemaker Challenge is one of the few U.S. wine competitions that utilize winemakers exclusively to evaluate its entries. Other super-award wining wines included:

Best of Show Sparkling Wine
Gloria Ferrer Brut, Sonoma County ($20)

Best of Show White Wine
Fallbrook Winery 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, California ($16)

Best of Show Dessert Wine
Lambouri 2000 Commandaria Legacy, Cyprus ($14)

Best of Class Chardonnay
Chateau Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge Estate Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills ($24)

Best of Class Pinot Noir
J. Lohr 2009 ‘Fog’s Reach’ Pinot Noir, Arroyo Seco ($25)

Best of Class Red Bordeaux Blend
J. Lohr 2007 Cuvee ST. E, Paso Robles ($50)

Best of Class Cabernet Sauvignon
V. Sattui 2008 Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($55)

Best of Class Syrah
Rocca 2007 Grigsby Vineyard Syrah, Yountville ($45)

For more information, click here.


Article source: http://www.alawine.com/archives/02-01-2011_02-28-2011.html#708

Your House Red: Boxed and Ready to Go

I’m the only wine drinker in my house. And there are times, like now, when things are so crazy that planning menus and opening bottles of wine that will in all likelihood go off before I can finish them up doesn’t make sense. Enter the new generation of boxed wines.

I’m particularly partial to the Octavin, which has a fantastic spigot contraption that doesn’t leak or drip. There are other options out there, too, and all of them keep air from getting to the wine thereby keeping the wine fresh-tasting for weeks, rather than days. The only downside of the Octavin is that with white wines they take up a certain amount of prime refrigerator real estate. With reds, you just set them in a cool place on the counter and enjoy a glass whenever the mood strikes.

Given the convenience of the packaging, I was particularly pleased to receive this sample of the NV Bodegas Osborne Seven because it is an ideal candidate for a house red–you know, the easy-drinking reds that go with practically everything and are great to have on hand. And the price is right, too: a 3.0 L

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Vandals, counterfeits, NZ, rack fail, new blog – sipped & spit

wine shelf fail Vandals, counterfeits, NZ, rack fail, new blog   sipped  spit

SPIT: wine shelf
Looks like they’ll need a mega cleanup in aisle 7! [Fail blog/youtube]

DESTROYED: international treasure
In Austria, vandals have uprooted and chopped to bits a 500-year-old vine. Hit the comments on what their punishment should be. [AP]

UPGRADED: the wine blogosphere
Mike Steinberger, wine columnist at Slate.com, has started a new blog. He says it is mostly for tasting notes, but he has already served up some juicy commentary about wine fraud. Add it to your feed reader! [WineDiarist.com]

SPIT: spelling
A BBC story highlights potential counterfeits of $8 supermarket wine in the UK. The tip off? Misspellings on the label.

SPIT: wine in New York supermarkets
Misspellings or not, wine is likely to be sold in New York grocery stores this year since it was not included in Governor Cuomo’s budget. However, a group is still pushing the legislature to adopt a measure. [NACS]

SIPPED SPIT: New Zealand’s bountiful vintage
Grape harvest in New Zealand may surpass 300

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Rodney Strong, Pinot Noir 2009

Rodney Strong, Pinot Noir 2009Since today is Valentine’s Day I thought I would post a romantic wine. Red Burgundy is world-renound as a silky and feminine wine of grace and balance. And Pinot Noir is the variety of red Burgundy which has been transplanted all over the wine world. California Pinot Noir has come a long way in a relatively short period of time producing some world-class wines. But due to the popularity of the variety since the success of the movie Sideways, finding top grade Cali Pinot for less than $25 a bottle has been tricky.

Rodney Strong has a well established track record for their Cabernet and Merlot based wines but I can’t remember if I’ve ever tasted a Pinot Noir from this producer. But they have been making the variety for a number of vintages from their vineyards in the Russian River Valley where their winery is located. And

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