About Matt.mmwine

Sommelier, wine writer, and overall Motor Mouth, I appear on various TV shows, host local wine events, and write about wine, food, cocktails, family & more!
Website: http://agoodtimewithwine.com
Matt.mmwine has written 193 articles so far, you can find them below.

About Matt.mmwine

Sommelier, wine writer, and overall Motor Mouth, I appear on various TV shows, host local wine events, and write about wine, food, cocktails, family & more!

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Here are my most recent posts

Dying For A Drink

hodges funeral home at naples memorial gardens offer wine cellar experience with funeral services

A Toast, To Absent Friends

Marketing seems to be all around me. It’s part of what I do to earn a living, and of course it’s in every message we see on TV, in the movies, and at the funeral home. Wait, did I just say funeral home? Yes, yes, I did. See, as I was leaving the office yesterday, a coworker told me about this new concept of a funeral home wine bar. I mentioned it on the way to dinner last night, and my son did a Google search from the back of the car. It turns out that Hodges Funeral Home at Naples Memorial Gardens is indeed offering a wine cellar experience while grieving your loved one.

I’m sure you’ve heard of an Irish Funeral. The story goes the Irish celebrate the life of the deceased, and have a beer, or thirty, to toast to the dearly departed. So, I’m not terribly shocked or awed by the fact that Hodges Funeral Home is providing the service of wine for people who are mourning the dead. It gives the family and friends the opportunity to gather, pay their respects, and then find a way to celebrate the life and memory of those who have passed on. It also allows people a slightly more relaxed and comfortable way to pay their respects. If you’ve ever been to a funeral service, you know it’s not exactly easy to say anything other than “I’m so sorry for your loss.” The idea of having a semi-social setting to help pay your respects seems somewhat comforting.

Celebratory services are something that Hodges seems to have already focused on. So, it’s not a big leap from those already offered services to something with a wine focus. The Drinks Business reports that Hodges Funeral Home will continue to offer traditional funeral services for those not interested in the wine cellar option.

So, what do you think? Is Hodges Funeral Home offering wine while paying respects tacky? Or, is it just another way to remember the life of those who have passed on? Or, is it just a marketing trick? Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

Is A $100 Wine Better Than A $10 Wine?

The Pepsi Challenge

The Pepsi Challenge

Upon finding out I was a wine writer and Sommelier, a new coworker turned to me saying “I have to ask, is a $100 wine really better than a $10 wine?” I smiled and start to answer, when a friend, who is my new boss says “Well, do you like Coke, or Pepsi?” Stay with me now, I knew where he was going.

The first consideration that goes into picking a $100 bottle over a $10 bottle of wine is the ability to taste the difference. If you fail the “Pepsi Challenge”, chances are you probably won’t appreciate the flavor difference in the two price ranges. However, once we discern you can tell the taste difference between the two, the question becomes is the price difference worth it to you. Everyone has a different threshold for luxury. Thus, it depends on what your “wine luxury” threshold is set to.

If you’re a mountain bike enthusiast, you can ride the trails on a $250 Huffy, or a $9,153 Santa Cruz Tallboy 2 Carbon XX1 Enev. You’ll still ride the same trails, but one ride is on a carbon fiber body and wheel assembly, and the other is on plain old metal. You may start and stop at the same place, but you certainly did it on a different level. If biking isn’t your thing, think Luxury cars, as Rob did. You can buy the $40,000 Nissan 370Z, or the $2 Million Pagani Huayra. Is there really a $1,960,000 difference in the way the car gets you from the house to the office? Probably not, but your luxury threshold causes you to buy one over the other. Luxury and taste aside, there are a few other factors that go into the pricing of wine to consider. And here’s where I got to geek out a little.

Grapevines at Trefethen in Napa, CA

Grapevines at Trefethen in Napa, CA

I have grapes growing in my backyard. They’re muscadine grapes, fairly common in Florida. They can be made into wine, and in fact, they are made into wine in parts of Florida. The wine tastes a little like cotton candy, and sells for about $10 a bottle. I wouldn’t drink it, but I could. Now, there are vines planted in Napa Valley, exposed to the perfect amount of sun, benefiting from diurnal temperature changes to maximize the ripening of the grapes. They are on premium land, and there has been generations of study invested in ensuring they are the perfect winemaking grape. They create wines that offer layers of taste, complex creatures that evolve over time in a bottle or in a glass. They sell for $100 a bottle, and I would and do drink them. So, while I would never consider buying a $9,153 mountain bike, my threshold for luxury related to wine is much higher than $10 cotton candy in a bottle.

Did I really answer the question of “Is a $100 wine really better than a $10 wine?” Probably not as completely as you’d like. In the end, it’s not that there are no drinkable $10 wines, and you have to pop $100 or more to get something worth drinking. That said, in my opinion, there is a definite quality difference between the two. There are complexities and facets of the $100 wine that make it fetch the higher price. However, I can point you to a killer Pinot Noir for $10 that’ll knock your socks off. So, in the end, it’s really a question of “what’s your wine luxury threshold?” Would you drink the Pagani of wines?

A Quick Sip Of Wine: Caleo Salice Salentino 2012

italian red wine Caleo Salice Salentino 2012 puglia italy

Caleo Salice Salentino 2012

Not every bottle of wine needs a long writeup to describe it. Some bottles of wine need only a few words, and my sip of Caleo Salice Salentino 2012 is one of them. Mind you, there was nothing wrong with the wine. On the contrary, the Caleo Salice Salentino a fine bottle of red Italian wine for $9.

What Grape is Caleo Salice Salentino Made From?

Not a bad question, I’m glad you asked it. Salice Salentino is a wine producing region in Puglia. A warm region in southern Italy, Puglia, also called Apulia, is the heel of Italy’s boot. While there are a number of grapes made into wine in Puglia, Negroamaro is the primary grape in wines from Salice Salentino. Negroamaro can be blended with up to 20% Malvasia Nera di Brindisi or Malvasia Nera di Lecce to make the red wines of Salice Salentino.

italian red wine Caleo Salice Salentino 2012 puglia italy

Caleo Salice Salentino 2012

Tasting Notes on Caleo Salice Salentino 2012

I tried to find information on the Caleo winemaker and vineyards. Unfortunately, little other than reviews or companies selling the wine was available. At $9, I don’t expect much out of this red Italian wine. Rather, I expect it to be simple, quaffable, and work well with pizza, pasta, or grilled meats. The aroma is black cherry, cola and a little earthiness. The wine is not overly tannic, and negroamaro in general is a soft, fruit driven wine. On the palate, there is cherry meeting an earthy, leather core. The wine is quite dry, with fine but noticeable tannin. With my meat lover pizza, a pine needle or menthol component shows up on the wine, with the earthiness more front and center on the palate, and the fruit taking a back seat. This wine will not appeal to those who prefer a fruity, new world Cabernet Sauvignon. This is no fruit bomb. It’s a simple, straight forward, old world Italian red wine.

Are you an Italian wine lover? Which wine from Italy is your favorite? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Quick Sip: Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Matthew Horbund Reviews Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2012

My sipping the Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc during the nationwide Polar Vortex freeze had very little to do me taunting my frozen friends. Ok, maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was in shorts and flip flips while you were in a parka, and your tears froze before they dripped down to your nose. However, it was mostly due to the fact that I am not a seasonal drinker. I happily drink white wine in winter and red wine in summer. In the end, my sipping this delicious white wine really had everything to do with the fact that for $19, the Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc was darned good.

The Rutherford AVA is Home for Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc

The 2012 vintage marks the 8th bottling of Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit for this crisp white wine is from their Rutherford Estate vineyard. South of St Helena, and north of Yountville, the Rutherford AVA is smack in the middle of the Napa Valley wine region. More prominently known for it’s excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford is home to some notable wine names, including Quintessa, Frog’s Leap, Mumm Napa Valley, St Supery and Cakebread, to name a few. On the Napa valley floor, on the Rutherford Estate, Long Meadow Ranch farms a total of 74 acres of Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvingon vineyards. The Long Meadow Ranch vineyards are farmed using organic practices certified by California Certified Organic Farmers. In addition to wine, Long Meadow Ranch sells olive oil, grass fed beef, eggs, honey and heirloom fruits.

Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Tasting Notes For Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2012

The color of the Long Meadow Ranch 2012 Sauvignon Blanc is a pale yellow, bright in the glass, with a medium viscosity. The aroma of grapefruit, lime, and a little salt is very refreshing. The palate is light bodied and crisp, with more lime than grapefruit, candied lime peel, and a little “zip” on the finish from the medium+ acidity. There is a slight smokiness on the finish of the Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2012, and the length of it’s finish is moderate and enjoyable.

The Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2012 is definitely a white wine worth trying! Are you a fan of Sauvignon Blanc? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

What is Cabernet Franc?

Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Franc Harvest

Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Franc Harvest

Have you been curious about the taste of Cabernet Franc when someone orders a glass with their meal? You may very well have had a wine made with Cabernet Franc from France, or even California, and not known. All too often we stay in the safe zone with our wine choices, rarely venturing outside of our “wine box”. After reading this, you’ll not only know what to expect in that glass of Cabernet Franc, but you’l be able to pair it with foods, and talk about it, if you want.

The History of Cabernet Franc

A black berry, because grapes are indeed berries, Cabernet Franc can be found in many parts of the world, though it’s most well suited in France, from the Loire Valley as well as Bordeaux.  However, you’ll find wines made from mostly Cabernet Franc in California, as well as New York, and Virginia, amongst other areas. It is one of the oldest varieties of grape in Bordeaux, with documented evidence of Cabernet Franc in Loire vineyards near Chinon dating back to 1534, though under the name Breton. Cabernet Franc was then mentioned in Pomerol in 1716. Cabernet Franc was crossed with Sauvignon Blanc to make the popular wine grape Cabernet Sauvignon.

What Do Cabernet Franc Wines Taste Like?

One of the main Bordeaux varieties, Cabernet Franc is primarily a blending grape. Cabernet Franc is paler, lighter, crisper, softer and more aromatic than Cabernet Sauvignon, which lends finesses and peppery aromas to the wine when blended with grapes like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Green pepper, tomato and vegetable greens are often scents and tastes found in Cabernet Franc in an underripe bottling. However, in more recent vintages, longer, warmer growing seasons and advanced vineyard practices have produced more fruit focused and floral tastes, eliminating some of the green and herbaceous notes from the flavor profile. You can find wines made mostly, or exclusively, from Cabernet Franc in Chinon, as well as parts of the US, such as California and New York as previously mentioned. I recently reviewed the Stepping Stone 2008 Cabernet Franc, which could have been made with the grapes being harvest in the photo above, which came from the Cornerstone Cellars Harvest Blog.

Food Pairing with Cabernet Franc Includes Prime Rib and other roast beef dishes

Food Pairing with Cabernet Franc Includes Prime Rib

Food Pairings with Cabernet Franc

Wines made from Cabernet Franc grapes like foods that have a fair fat content, and are roasted. Think of drinking cabernet franc wine when you are eating:

  • Beef, whether steak or roasts
  • Cheese, especially goat whether alone or in a dish
  • Roasted duck
  • Venison chops, steaks or burgers
  • Grilled or roast eggplant, or eggplant parmesan
  • Lamb, especially grilled and roasted
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Pasta with red sauce, especially a meat sauce / bolognese sauce

Are you a fan of Cabernet Franc? Let me know which one you’ve enjoyed in the past by leaving a comment below.

Quick Sip – Stepping Stone Cabernet Franc 2008

Stepping Stone Cabernet Franc 2008

Stepping Stone Cabernet Franc 2008

Confession: I put a bottle of Stepping Stone Cabernet Franc 2008 in my wine cellar, and left it there for almost two years. I told Craig Camp, the managing parter of Cornerstone Cellars, the sister label for Stepping Stone, that I did it. He understood. It wasn’t really a function of the wine needing to age before it was enjoyed. Some other wine writers were blogging about the 2008 vintage of Stepping Stones Cabernet Franc in 2010, and it was good. I simply wanted to see how a $30 bottle of Cabernet Franc held up after two years in the cellar.

matthew horbund wine review Stepping Stone Cabernet Franc 2008

Stepping Stone Cabernet Franc 2008

Stepping Stone Cabernet Franc 2008

Earthy vegetables and herbs give way to ripe, lush berries and black cherry on both the nose and the palate. There are sweet spices from the oak aging on the finish.  Even with two years in the cellar, there are still firm tannins, and fair acidity. A blend of 96% Cabernet Franc and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a great wine to pair with food, though the Stepping Stone 2008 Cabernet Franc is also a very nice sipping wine. The 2008 vintage was $30, while the current 2010 vintage of this wine is $35.

I’ve previously enjoyed wines from Stepping Stone. In 2012 I took sips of Stepping Stone Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, and in 2011 I took a look at their white wine called Stepping Stone ROCKS! 2010. I have a bottle of the Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon that has also been sitting in the cellar for about two years. That wine definitely was young and tight when I received it, and I think it’s almost time to pop the cork.

What wine have you been holding on to that you think it’s time to open? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Wine Collecting Has Nothing To Do With Bestiality

Fraud in the wine World

Fraud in the wine World

If you don’t read Joe Roberts blog 1winedude, you missed the one where he likened wine collecting with bestiality. Ok, it wasn’t that direct of a reference, but he went there. He was referring to the Rudy Kurniwan trial, which has been covered in nearly every news outlet there is. In short, Rudy Kurniawan has been found guilty of selling counterfeit wine through the mail and engaging in wire fraud.

One of the victims of Rudy Kurniawan’s wine fraud scheme was William I Koch. I happened to know Mr. Koch, and have had the privilege of being in his wine cellars more than once. He’s a very genuine man, who has a fantastic collection of wine. He is very proud of that collection, and rightfully so. Mr. Koch has taken great offense to the fraud perpetuated by Mr. Kurniawan, and has said “I want to shine a bright light on this whole fraud to show how bad it is.”

Fraud in the wine collecting world

Fraud in the wine collecting world

Getting back to Joe, Joe believes that we’ll never stamp out fraud in the fine wine collecting world. He loosely ties the collectors desire to obtain a rare wine to being in an aroused state where they would do something irrational, such as buy rare wines that could not exist. Joe goes on to say this is similar to how people would agree to finding bestiality enjoyable if they were in an already aroused state when answering the question. Not a terrible article, bestiality reference aside! I am paraphrasing here, so read his article for the whole story. The point is, Joe feels that since collectors have this irrational excitement over collecting rare fine wine, the fraud is so easily committed it’s almost a self fulfilling prophecy.

I don’t think I agree with his angle, however. It’s not necessarily the collector and their excitement over owning the rare gem that promotes the fraud. Rather, it’s the fact that regardless of how we try to stop it, no matter what the safeguards, fraud can be and is still perpetuated. The penalties for these frauds are no where near as severe as the rewards when committing it.

Look at medicare fraud as an example. There’s no aroused collector in that situation. And there are various agencies committed to stopping the fraud. And yet, hundreds of millions of dollars are lost annually because the reward of the fraud far outweighs the risk of being caught.

Quivira Zinfandel Pig Icon

Quivira Zinfandel Pig Icon

It’s the same for the wine world. It’s not about Mr Koch’s excitement to own a rare bottle of wine. That isn’t why the fraud happened. Rather, it is because the benefit to Rudy Kurniawan far outweighed the risk. No collector can be expected to know everything about every producer and vintage of wine for sale. Heck, no Master Sommelier can be expected to know that. While I agree with a buyer beware sentiment, until the punishment far exceeds the benefit, fraud will continue in our society. And let’s leave animals out of this, we have enough critter labels in the wine world.

Travel To Vineyards and Wineries

Muscadine Grapes Henscratch Farms in Florida

Muscadine Grapes Henscratch Farms in Florida

If you love wine, or even like wine, make it a point to travel to more vineyards and wineries. Regardless of where your travel takes you, there is probably a vineyard nearby. There are even wineries and vineyards in sunny Florida to visit, after you spend the day at Disney World with Mickey Mouse! I’ve  had the pleasure of visiting a number of vineyards throughout the US and France, and plan on visiting more. Traveling to wineries or vineyards and meeting the people who work there builds a connection that can only enhance your enjoyment of wine. I’ve often been asked which vineyard was my favorite to visit. I really struggle with that answer. Each one is a new and exciting adventure, offering something educational, something beautiful, and something fun.

Visiting Vineyards In Bordeaux

the vineyards of pomerol chateau la conseillante neighbor to Chateau Cheval Blanc

Vineyards of Chateau La Conseillante and neighbor Chateau Cheval Blanc

Of course, visiting the vineyards and Cheateaux of Bordeaux was a fantastic experience. I learned so much about the history of the families of each Chateau, the wine making legacy, and got a true feel for the terroir. I was thrilled to walk through the vineyards of Chateau La Conseillante in Pomerol. The vineyards were acquired in 1872 by Louis Nicolas, and remain in the Nicolas family to this day. From the tasting room at Chateau La Conseillante, you can see the recently renovated winery of Premier Grand Cru Classe neighbor Chateau Cheval Blanc to the east of the vineyard. The wines of La Conseillante are fantastic, most certainly worth seeking out. However, it was the experience of connecting the wine with the land and the people that made the an indelible mark on my soul.

Vineyards of Troplong Mondot overlook the village of Saint-Emilion

Vineyards of Troplong Mondot overlooking the village of Saint-Emilion

Visiting Vineyards In Oregon

I have had the pleasure of plodding through Oregon’s vineyards a few times, most recently in October 2012. After a fantastic visit with the folks of Harry & David, I spent two days visiting several Southern Oregon Wineries.  While the wines from the first winery didn’t blow my hair back, it’s undeniable that sipping them while enjoying the view of the vineyards and mountains was an awe inspiring afternoon.

Beautiful view from Wooldridge Creek Vineyards tasting room southern oregon winery

Beautiful view from Wooldridge Creek Vineyards tasting room

There were some great wines to be sipped in Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley, including the wines from Troon Vineyard. I have a few bottles of their wines left in my cellar from that trip, and will review them in the coming months. It’ll be nice to sip and reminisce about the fun I had with friends that day.

Troon Vineyard in Applegate Valley, Oregon

Troon Vineyard in Applegate Valley, Oregon

Visiting Vineyards In California

With Jason Haas in the Tablas Creek Winery

With Jason Haas in the Tablas Creek Winery

I’ve probably spent the most time traveling to the wineries and vineyards of California. I’ve visited Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles and the Central Cost to explore wineries and vineyards. There is no shortage of kind people, friendly winemakers and delicious wines to taste. Each of them are willing to explore the world of wine with you, trying to help you find new  grapes to try, and ignite the passion within you. From talking about barrel fermentation to Tablas Creek’s Jason Haas, to blending different grapes with the winemaker at Stillwaters Vineyards, the winery staff want to make your visits memorable and enjoyable.

The vines of Stillwater Vineyards in Paso Robles, CA

The vines of Stillwater Vineyards in Paso Robles, CA

I look forward to traveling to more vineyards in the near future. I have a goal to visit Burgundy, the Rhone Valley, and the different wine regions of Italy, from Piedmont to Puglia. Do you have any plans to travel to vineyards this year? Or, have you fond memories of vineyards you’ve visited in the past? Share your experiences below, I’d love to hear from you!