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Video Wine Review

Red Wine From Navarra Spain – Marco Real – Garnacha

Video Wine Review of Marco Real Garnacha

Video Wine Review of Marco Real Garnacha

I’ve had a hard time writing this wine review for several reasons. My opinion of this wine disagrees with both Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate reviews. Now, I don’t mean to suggest that WA and WS are the end-all-be-all of wine information, but it causes me to pause and reflect on the wine. I often hesitate to recommend a wine that isn’t varietally correct, because I know some wine geek out there will blast me for it. However, Robin’s opinion of this wine was identical to mine, so without further ado, lets talk about Marco Real Garnacha from Navarra, Spain.

Garnacha, which is called Grenache when it comes from areas outside of Spain, such as France or the US, is a very widely planted red wine grape. It usually produces wine that has dark berry fruit flavors, and a great backbone of pepper and spice that make it a very enjoyable red wine, in my opinion. It’s a red wine I love on it’s own, or paired with steak, lamb, or cheeses, and have served at dinner parties frequently.  When I was offered the chance to try the Marco Real 2005 Garnacha from Navarra, Spain, I jumped at the opportunity. To find out what I thought of this wine, watch the short video review, then continue on to see my summary of the wine.

Red Wine From Navarra Spain – Marco Real – Garnacha from Matthew Scott Horbund on Vimeo.

As you can see, the issue I had writing this review is is not if this is a good wine. For the price, which is a suggested retail of about $11, it’s an easy drinking, nice red wine. However, if you’re looking for varietally correct, where the dark berries give way to pepper notes on the palate, this is not the wine for you. This is more of a jammy, berry focused wine that is very easy to drink, a nice evening back-porch sipper. I think it would be great with food, and had it with ravioli with a red marinara sauce, and it went very nicely. As a matter of fact, I purchased quite a bit of this wine from Zsazsa and Company, and plan on having it with friends over pizza soon. 

Closeup of Marco Real Garnacha Label

Closeup of Marco Real Garnacha Label

Wine Spectator gave this wine an 86, and Wine Advocate gave it an 88. Both reviewers noted the spice, typical of Garnacha, which I felt was lacking.  Now, you’re asking, “Matt, what does that mean?” It means if you’re looking for a perfect bottle of Garnacha, this isn’t it. I’ll work on finding one for you! However, if you’re looking for an easy drinking red, one to sip alone or with food, then for $11, you can’t go wrong with this wine.  I plan on opening a bottle of this wine over the next few days, and re-tasting it. I also plan on reviewing a slightly more expensive California Grenache, and seeing how the two compare.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below and let me know if you’ve had Garnacha, or Grenache, lately. If so, what did you like, or not like about it? Have you had the Marco Real, and if so what was your opinion.  I’ll update this post when I re-try the wine with other foods, so check back often.

Same grapes but different wines – WBW 62

Murphy Goode The Fume

Murphy Goode The Fume

Lucien Crochet Sancerre

Lucien Crochet Sancerre

Writers of all types experience “writers block” now and again. Wine bloggers are no different, despite the fact that there are thousands of different wines to discuss, no less the myriad of related topics to write about. However, we have the added inspiration of Wine Blogging Wednesday, the brainchild of Lenn Thompson from Lenn Devours – The New York Cork Report. Each month, wine bloggers converge on one topic, writing about the month’s wine related theme. Lenn has managed to enlist the help of wine bloggers around the world for topic ideas, which has allowed WBW to enter it’s 62nd month with today’s installment. This month Dale Cruse from Drinks Are On Me challenges us to try a grape by any other name.

Grapes often have different names depending on region in which they grow. Additionally, the grape could have the same name, but it’s labled based on where the wine is produced. I decided to talk about Sauvignon Blanc, and the stark contrast between wines made from the grape in California versus Sancerre, an AOC in the Loire Valley, France. It was not hard for me to select the wines for today’s post. I happened to have on hand a bottle of Lucien Crochet Sancerre 2007 sitting next to a bottle of Murphe-Goode The Fume 2008 in my wine cellar.

While it would have been a fun adventure to find some Italian Primitivo and talk about it in relation to Zinfandel, I was very excited to talk about the way Sauvignon Blanc makes different styles of wine from France to California. Watch the short video below, then read on about Sancerre and Sauvignon Blanc.

Sancerre is Sauvignon Blanc, or is it? Wine Blogging Wednesday #62 from Matthew Scott on Vimeo.

Now there are Sauvignon Blanc wines that come from all over the world, with great ones coming from New Zealand and Chile, as well as these from California and France. Sancerre, in the eastern part of the Loire Valley, France, is an AOC, Appellation d’origine contrôlée, produces very distinct wines. The terroir, characteristics of the earth the grapes are grown on, greatly influences the wine made there. I highly recommend you experiment with the different styles out there, to find out which you prefer. As you saw from the video, the same grape can produce a very different experience.

I think both of these wines have their merits.  Your palate may prefer the lighter, easier drinking Sauvignon Blanc from Murphy-Goode, as my Fiancee Robin did. She preferred it to the Sancerre, liking it’s “easy sipping at a low price” quality. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the chalky, herbaceous flavors of the Lucien Crochet, especially when I thought about it with food. I think that may be the point to make, that the California expression of this grape is an easy drinking back yard sipper, fine on its own. The French Sancerre, however, is a wine that really shows best with food to help marry it’s unique flavors with the foods. I would certainly reach for a California or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc for sipping and catching up with friends before a Sancerre. However, if I was serving a nice seafood dinner, the Sancerre could be my preference for the evening.

Don’t take my word for it, buy a Sancerre and a California Sauvignon Blanc, and try them together. Then, leave a comment below and let me know which you prefer, and why!

Not another ordinary white wine – Sobon Estate Viognier 2008

One of the things that excites me about wine is the variety that is available. While many people don’t know there are white wines other than Chardonnay available, I love it when the opportunity to enjoy Riesling from Dr Loosen, Aligote from Steele Wines or a nice Viognier arises. Viognier is a very versatile wine, great to sip on, or pair with a wide range of foods. When you get a Viognier that not only tastes good, but  is reasonably priced, that makes it pair well with ANYTHING. I’d like to introduce you to that Viognier, it comes from Sobon Estate, and I really enjoyed tasting and reviewing this wine.

Sobon Estate makes a number of different wines, from Syrah and Roussane to Sangiovese and Zinfandel. There is a rich history behind Sobon Estate, which started in 1977 with Leon and Shirley Sobon founding Shenandoah Vineyards, then forming Sobon Estate in 1989 as their 30th Anniversary gift to each other. The Sobon family is very much a part of the wine making process, from Wine Maker Paul Sobon to Business Systems Manager Robert Sobon, the family take great pride in the wine they make. They also care very much for the environment, and believe in sustainable farming and minimizing the impact of their business on our world. I speak a little about that in the video review below. Check out the video, then read the rest of my notes below it.

Video review of a great white wine – Sobon Estate Viognier 2008 - from Matthew Scott on Vimeo.

The Sobon Estate 2008 Viognier had a great bouquet, showing honeysuckle and white flowers. There was some citrus and even peach notes woven into the bouquet, and it was quite inviting. On the palate, there was definitely some great fruit up front of peaches, with nice honey suckle flavors. It reminded me of being a kid during summer, pulling honey suckle flowers off the vines and tasting the sweet nectar. However, there was this beautiful, balanced spice component that really gave an interesting twist to the finish, making it a fun, complex wine.

This wine was perfect with the three different cheeses, Cheddar, Brie, and Port Salut, we tried while the chicken was cooking. And when the chicken was ready, we had JUST enough wine left to taste them together. The grilled flavors of the chicken, which was seasoned simply with salt, pepper and rosemary, meshed perfectly with the wine.  This Viognier is rather food friendly, and I could see pairing it with white fish sauted in white wine or roasted pork, shrimp on the BBQ, and of course, grilled chicken. For $16, the Sobon Estate Viognier won’t break the bank, and is a great wine to have when friends come over. If you try this, or really any Viognier, why not let me know what you think of it by leaving a comment below!

I would like to disclose that this wine was provided to me by the winery to taste and review, though I have purchased and reviewed their wines in the past.

No Bottleshock here – Chateau Montelena 2007 Chardonnay video wine review

Chateau Montelena 2007 Chardonnay

Chateau Montelena 2007 Chardonnay

These days, most people are on a budget, and watch their spending closely. And while very few of my friends cut wine out of their monthly expenses, they always ask me to find good, budget friendly wines for them to enjoy. However, it’s my opinion that now and then, it’s ok to splurge and treat yourself, so long as you do it in moderation. For Robin & I, that day came last week when we opened up a bottle of Chateau Montelena Chardonnay from Napa, CA.  It’s not what I would call a Budget Wine, but rather a wine for a nice occasion. For us, that occasion was celebrating the end of a work week!

If you’ve seen the movie Bottle Shock you know the impact Chateau Montelena had on the wine world in 1976. The movie definitely endears you to the struggle California wine makers had, and have, gaining respect for the hard work and love that goes into each bottle. It also will make you want to run out and buy a bottle of Chateau Montelena, whether you’ve had it in the past or not. For us, this Chardonnay was not our first experience with their wines. We had a bottle of their Zinfandel with a lovely dinner out in West Palm Beach a few months ago, and their Cab some time prior to that. However, we did indeed go out and buy a bottle of the Chard days after seeing the movie, and kept it in the back of the wine cellar for a while. However, the time came to open, and enjoy it. Of course, I’d like to share this wine with you, so please watch the short two minute video, then scroll down to read more of my thoughts on this wine.

Tasting Chateau Montelena 2007 Chardonnay from Matthew Scott on Vimeo.

I actually misspoke on the video and said that oak aging typically gives Chardonnay a buttery mouth feel. It’s actually the malolactic fermentation that gives it that lush mouth feel. The oak aging can, however, impart notes of toast, spice, and vanilla, for example. The Chateau Montelena Chardonnay spends eight to nine months in oak. However, the oak influence is beautiful, not overwhelming the flavors of fruit.

The wine was wonderful, and we enjoyed it very much. Frankly, I think we drank it too quickly, and needed to take some more time with this wine. The wine evolved over the hour we ate, and I feel we missed some of the changes it went through. I plan on getting a second bottle soon, with the expectation of sipping it, slowly, and really taking care to see how it changes sip to sip. The subtle oak aging provides Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay with complex layers of flavor, from the tropical notes I mentioned before to subtle hints of vanilla and spice. There’s a nice balance of acidity and fruit, and this is a crisp, and delicious, white wine.

I mentioned a food pairing in the video, and we paired this with Fettuccine Alfredo topped with shrimp. While it was a “nice enough” pairing, it was by no means perfect. Frankly, the beautiful tropical flavors the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay offers would have gone much better with a grilled chicken or fish dish. The fish could have been grilled sea bass or grilled salmon, as either would have paired with this wine wonderfully.  Likewise, a simple grilled chicken, seasoned with nothing but salt and pepper, would have been a spectacular food and wine pairing with this Chardonnay. There are many food and wine pairings that this wine would have worked with, and perhaps we’ll make one or two of them in the future, and share our tasting with you.

Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena

I must admit I have not yet visited Chateau Montelena. However, as this beautiful Eve Andersson photo illustrates, there is a lot of history and beauty at the winery. I look forward to visiting the Chateau one day soon. The rich history on that land, from the Chateau itself to Jade Lake, would make a great piece for future TweetMeTV segments. I’ll have to talk with the folks at Daytime morning show and see about another Napa visit, soon!

Your adventure in wine doesn’t need to stop here. You can follow the folks from Chateau Montelena on Twitter. The folks from the movie Bottle Shock are on twitter as well. Of course, you can find me on Twitter or Facebook, and we can continue having a good time with wine. Cheers!

Petit Verdot Petit Sirah from Lange Twins Family Winery and Vineyards

Lange Twins Petit Verdot Petit Sirah

Lange Twins Petit Verdot Petit Sirah

Do you enjoy wine? When was the last time you had a Petit Verdot? How about Petit Sirah? If the answer is anything other than “Last week”, watch this video wine review of Lange Twins Family Winery & Vineyards 2007 Generations Petit Verdot Petit Sirah blend. You’ll be surprised at how delicious and drinkable this $20 wine is! There’s no doubt that this purple teeth stainer will be a wine you look to have again, and again.

The Lange family has been farming in California for 5 generations, starting with Johann and Maria Lange’s 1870 immigration from Germany, where they settled down in Lodi. The Langes started their farming history beginning with melons, the crop of choice back then. They moved into farming grapes in 1916, then in 2006  twin brothers Randall and Bradford Lange, Winery General Manager and Viticulture General Manager respectively, founded the Lange Twins winery, and incorporated the winery in their business of grape growing. There are multiple generations of Lange family members working at the Lange Twins Family Winery & Vineyards today, making it a true family business.

Joe Lange provided a bottle of their Generations Petit Verdot Petit Sirah 2007 to me before the summer started as a sample for review. I am grateful to Joe, and Lange Twins Family Winery & Vineyard for the opportunity to taste this wine, and discuss it with you. Please take two minutes to watch the video review below, then read the rest of my tasting notes and comments.

Lange Twins Petit Verdot Petit Sirah Red Wine review from Matthew Scott on Vimeo.

As you can see from the above quick video wine review (you did watch it, right? Seriously, 2 minutes!), this wine falls into the “Drinkable” and almost “Gulpable” category. It’s only $20 from the Lange Twins website, and by my measure, that makes it a very affordable, bordering on every day wine price wise. Of course, price is not the only measure of selecting wines, so taste has to be there, and in my opinion, Lange Twins Petit Verdot Petit Sirah has it.

I find this wine very approachable. That means, it’s easy to drink, and doesn’t require too much care & feeding, or work, to enjoy it. A good friend of mine on twitter mentioned she is not a fan of wines that require a lot of “me” time, and prefers the ability to just open a wine and enjoy it. While I decanted the wine for an hour, I believe this wine would do well as a “Pop and Pour”, where you can just open it and drink.

Decanting red wines has two purposes. First, for older wines or perhaps wines that are not filtered, it helps separate the sediment that occurs normally in bottles of wine by allowing them to settle to the bottom of the decanter. Second, it allows younger wines time to “breathe”, allowing oxygen to interact with the wine. This can allow the wine to open up, the bouquet and the flavors can show well, and you can enjoy the wine. Some wines may not need any decanting, others may need one, two or even four hours to open up.

As you saw in the video, there was nice fruit on this wine, with just a little hint of baking spice mixed in. I could discern beautiful blueberry flavors mixed in with darker fruit flavors as soon as the wine hit my tongue. It definitely opened up and became even more enjoyable with each minute we drank the wine. Also as mentioned in the video, we paired the wine with steak.  It was a great pairing, the delicious grilled steak dancing gracefully with the luscious wine. Sadly, the wine was finished before the steak was gone, which was a testament to how easy drinking the wine was.

This wine definitely plays well with others, pairing it with beef dishes or other gamey dishes (hmm, venison stew or Cornish game hens perhaps) works wonderfully. It also plays well by itself, making it a great sipping wine. Open a bottle of this Lange Twins wine, take your better half, or your best buds, to the back yard or the porch, and watch a great night with a nice wine unfold!

Video wine review of Errazuriz Single Vineyard 2007 Carmenere – a red wine from Chile

Errazuriz Single Vineyard 2007 Carmenere

Errazuriz Single Vineyard 2007 Carmenere

If you’ve read any of my wine blog posts, you’ll know that Camenere was one of the first red wines I had ever had. Therefore, it’s always a pleasure to try a Camenere from a producer I haven’t had in the past. During the Wines of Chile blogger event, we had the pleasure of trying 8 wines from Chile while video conferenced in with the wine makers to get their insights on their wines, Chile, and wine in general. I have reviewed several of those wines already, and have a few more coming. You’ll find my thoughts and tasting notes on the Errazuriz Single Vineyard Carmenere in the video review below. Please be kind when watching it, I was in a hotel room after a full day of Oracle training, and pretty wiped out.

Errazuriz Single Vineyard Carmenere 2007 hails from the Aconcagua Valley of Chile, right around San Felipe, north of Santiago. The Aconcagua river flows through the valley, which provides “melt water” for much needed irrigation in the area.  While wine grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere have grown in the valley since the mid 19th Century, there has been renewed interest in the area since the 1990s. Experiements have proven that Aconcagua valley vineyards located closer to the Pacific can provide great grapes, and great wines. Personally, I’m on the look out for some of these wines, especially Syrah which is pointed out in the Wines of Chile brochure that was sent to the bloggers for reference.

Now, it’s no secret that I think wines from Chile offer great value, bringing to us nice, or even fantastic wines, at a great price. I’ve probably written about more Chilean wine on this blog than any other country. At $26 retail, the Errazuriz Single Vineyard Carmenere is not an everyday budget wine for many people. However, I think it’s definitely a wine to give a try, if for no other reason than to see what Carmenere is about, and have a nice frame of reference for other producers.

As the video notes, the first night this wine was definitely a lot more fruit driven and didn’t have some of the characteristics I love about Carmenere. I felt it was lacking the earthy flavors with a black pepper and spice driven backbone that screams STEAK! I found it very “new worldy”. However, I actually REALLY liked it the first night, finding the wine fun and enjoyable. The second night I think it was “done”, with too much oxygen breaking down the wine, as notes of cherry cough syrup were dominant, which were not what I found the first night. I would like very much to get another bottle and see how it opens over time, because I believe I didn’t really experience the full potential of this wine in the situation I had to taste it.

Check out the video, and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!

Chilean Red Wine Review – Errazuriz Single Vineyard Carmenere from Matthew Scott on Vimeo.

Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia 2007 Carmenere video wine review

Santa Carolina 2007 Reserva de Familia Carmenere from Matthew Scott on Vimeo.

As you may have read in earlier posts like the Los Vascos Reserva review, I was given the pleasure to participate a blogger event put on by the PR folks from the Wines of Chile back in May. Several bloggers participated in a video conference between eight wine makers in Chile and the PR folks, moderated by Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine. In this fourth installment of my Wines of Chile video conference writeup, we talk about a great red wine made with the Carmenere grape.

While originally from the Medoc region of Bordeaux, the grape is rarely found there any longer. Instead, most Carmenere comes from Chile, and it’s their 3rd most planted red grape, behind Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I love carmenere, a typically earthy and peppery red wine that when done right, is great alone or with food. I pair Carmenere with a nice grilled steak, but it’ll go well with a variety of roasted and grilled meats.

I’ve mentioned the value wines I see coming from Chile many times, and believe the Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia 2007 Carmenere is worth every bit of its $15 SRP. Made with 100% carmenere, the wine, considered in their “Gran Reserva” range, is aged at least 10 months in oak barrels, mostly new. Additionally, the wines age in the bottle at least 4 months, which the wine maker believes helps “ensure the evolution of the complex aromas and flavours”.  Adding some punch to this $15 wine is the 91 point rating it received from Wine Enthusiast Magazine in the May 2009 issue. The one thing I was not able to verify is that while they are “Carbon Neutral” with their delivery, I can not confirm if Santa Carolina makes organic wines or not. Unlike the Cono Sur wines, it did not list Organically Farmed on the bottle.

Now, I’ve had Santa Carolina wines before, and my first impression was they were overly oaked and not to my palate. You’ll see in the video that while I may have thought this when I originally tasted the wine, the second tasting the next night completely changed my opinion.  Watch the video, and let me know what you think. Not just of the video, but of Carmenere, wines from Chile, or Santa Carolina Wines.

A video review of great red wine from Chile – Los Vascos 2006 Reserve

Los Vascos Reserve Chilean red wine from Matthew Scott on Vimeo.

I love it when people drink the same wine across the world to compare notes, and the Wines of Chile blogger event in May 2009 was amazing for that opportunity.  You’ve probably seen my posts on some of the wines we enjoyed that night, the Cono Sur Chilean Pinot Noir for example. Additionally, you probably know I’m a big fan of wine from Chile; I feel Chile offers some great wines at quite reasonable prices. This event, hosted by the PR folks at  Wines of Chile, and moderated by  Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine, allowed 8 wine makers to answer  questions for the bloggers, so we could learn a bit about them, and their wines.

As you’ll see in the short video wine review above, I’ve discussed what my tasting notes were during the event, then revisited each wine the next day to see how they stood up. This wine, the Los Vascos Reserve (blend) was actually more enjoyable the next day, benefiting from some time opening. The Los Vascos vineyard has been part of  Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) since 1988, which is a wonderful pedigree to have associated with your wines. Los Vascos website does not seem to have information specifically on the blend we had the opportunity to taste with the bloggers event, but there is some great information on the site for your Chilean wine education.

Los Vascos reserve Chilean red wine

Los Vascos reserve Chilean red wine

During the tasting, the Los Vascos Reserve red had a bouquet of red berries and cherries, with some brambles. The palate was black cherry fruits with very earthy notes.  The wine had a rustic mouth feel, and the finish had some herbs and a dry, chalky component.  The finish was quite long, and I enjoyed it very much.

On the second night, the nose was quite similar to the first night, however it seemed to become a tad more dark and rich. Additionally, there was a chocolate component that showed up on day two that wasn’t present on the first day.  The brambles were still noticeable, but they seemed a bit more integrated and not as prominent as the previous night. The palate of the Los Vascos Reserve became much more fine and silky, and the chalky finish was no where near as noticeable.  The wine opened up nicely, with dark cherry from the Cabernet Sauvignon integrating nicely with the spicey, zesty, earthy Carmenere and the fruit and pepper from the Syrah.

Josh Reynolds from the International Wine Cellars rated this an 89, with the following notes

“Bright ruby. Highly aromatic nose offers a sexy bouquet of ripe cherry, blackcurrant, fresh rose, tobacco and cedar. Suave, supple and sweet, with smooth red and dark berry flavors, gentle tannins and refreshing mineral bite on the close. Very sexy and drinkable now.”

I could continue to write about the flavors this wine, but you can get more from watching the video above. At $20, I will let you know that not only do I find this wine to be one to add to the shopping list, Lenn Thompson agrees with me and thinks the Los Vascos Reserve Chilean Red Wine is a “buy again” kind of wine.