If you follow me on twitter, you know I’ve been talking up Dr Loosen Wines Dr L 2008 Riesling this week. It’s not because they promised to feature me on their blog, and it’s not because I owe them anything. I’ve paid for the 3 bottles of this sweeter white wine that I drank this week with various groups of people. It’s because for the retail price of about $13, I think it’s a great value! It’s a well made wine, and something that will appeal to those who like well structured wines as well as those new to wines and are perhaps a bit timid to try different things.
You may know that I offer wine consulting services to Zsazsa and Company, a small Virtual Wine Store serving Florida with a select group of great wines at great prices. Several of their clients were looking for sweeter Rieslings that were well priced. After tasting 10 different wines, we settled on two for the time being, this one and the Villa Wolf, which I’ll review later on.
Dr Loosen Dr L Riesling 2008
The Dr Loosen Dr L 2008 Riesling comes from the Mosel River area of Germany, just down stream from the village of Bernkastel. While the estate has been in the family for over 200 years, this wine is not made from estate fruit. However, the quality is excellent, especially for the price. The Loosen Brothers, Ernst and Thomas, work closely with local growers, establishing long term contracts, to ensure the fruit is up to their high standards.
The wine’s bouquet is quite inviting, and reminds me of summer! Envision bees buzzing around the garden, gathering pollen, kids picking fresh peaches from a tree in the yard, and the summer warmth filling the room. Then, add a mixture of baking spices for making the most amazing dessert with those peaches, setting on a counter with honey suckle scents wafting in from your spring garden. And while the bouquet speaks volumes for this wine, it’s palate is quite interesting, starting off as it smells, but finishing a bit different.
When you first sip on the wine, it’s an explosion of stone fruits, nectarines and apricots, laced with honey. Then, just as you start to think the wine is TOO sweet, or cloying, it transitions to a phenominally crisp, clean finish laced with the spice from the bouquet that refreshes wonderfuly. The finish is of a nice length, leaving a fresh summer peach flavor in your mouth that beckons you to sip again. The Dr L Riesling has a good mixture of sweet fruit and back end acidity and spice that makes it enjoyable.
Some Cabot Cheese to pair with great wines
Of course, this wine is a nice summer sipper by itself. However, the Dr L Riesling would also pair quite nicely with spicy foods. For a Riesling, typical food and wine pairings including spicy Thai, Chinese, or Indian foods. I am going to be trying the Cabot Cheese Hot Habanero cheese pictured here and pairing with the Dr L Riesling to see how they mesh. I would also be curious how a dish flavored with some of Michele Northrup‘s All Natural Hot Sauces would pair, and will be giving those a shot as well!
If you live in Florida, you can order the Dr Loosen Dr L Riesling from Zsazsa and Company, Inc. Just remember heat is wine’s enemy, and be sure to elect over night early morning shipping! It’s worth the extra cost. Why not leave a comment below and let me know what Rieslings you’re drinking now, and what you’re pairing them with! And as always, have a good time with wine!
There’s no doubt that I’ve been drinking a lot of wine from Chile lately. Well, on Wednesday May 20th, I was given the opportunity to not only drink some more, but virtually drink with with a gaggle of wine bloggers, and the wine makers themselves. The PR folks at Wines of Chile put together a great event where the winemakers met in Chile, and via video conference, were asked questions by Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine. During the event, the bloggers were tasting along with the winemakers and Michael, tweeting about it using the #winesofchile hashtag, and enjoying a good time with wine.
Natura Sauvignon Blanc
The first wine of the evening was the Natura Sauvignon Blanc 2008 from Emiliana. This wine is from the Casablanca Valley of Chile, where it’s proximity to the ocean gives it great growing conditions to produce a very nice white wine. Winemaker Antonio Bravo, who’s been with Emiliana since 2006, gave the bloggers a bit of background on the wines, and the wine making process. Of note was that this wine is made with Organically grown grapes, and that Emiliana has a commitment to being environmentally responsible and organic. The wine label does indeed say it’s certified organic by IMO Switzerland, which I misspoke about during the video. Although Emiliana has a great website, I cant seem to find information on the NATURA line, which is under the Organico label from what I’ve been told. (Update 6/12, You can get information on the Natura line of organic wines online!)
The bouquet on this white wine is a mixture of orange and orange blossoms, showing citrus and subtle floral together. The citrus fruit was round and full, with some nice back end acidity. There was definitely more acidity the first night I tasted this wine, but the second night still had nice balance. This Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t have the minerality and herbaceous notes that French and some New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs do, but that’s not a bad thing. Quite honestly, for an $11 wine, I would more than certainly give this wine a shot. I’d love to pair this white wine with some grilled chicken, a salad, or grilled fish.
Let me know what you think after you check out the video, and leave a comment below. I’m always interested in hearing your thoughts!
There is no doubt that when the weather heats up, Robin & I reach for white wine more frequently than red. As luck would have it, the PR folks of Wine Of Chile sent me some samples of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc wines to try and talk about. This week we got to try the 2008 Undurraga T.H. Sauvignon Blanc from San Antonio, Chile.
Production of this white wine is limited to 1,380 cases, and is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the Leyda Vineyards. Undurraga’s Leyda Vineyards are located in the San Antonio Valley of Central Chile, approximately 9 miles from the Pacific ocean. Research suggested that this area would be suitable for cool-weather varieties, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. Given the proximity to the ocean, the South Pacific breezes and coastal summer fog lasting until midday, the climate in the Leyda Vineyards means longer ripening periods and crisper acidity for leaner, more food-friendly wines.
The color of the T.H Sauvignon blanc was a typical pale yellow. More yellow than straw, but less than a sun gold Chardonnay, for example. On the nose, there was nice citrus with a hint of green, such as grass. There was definitely some grapefruit on the nose, and it gave off a nice, crisp bouquet. After some time, perhaps during the 2nd glass, the nose developed a bit of a melon note. I tasted this wine well over a week ago, and in the midst of posting this review, I went to the winery’s website for more detail. Interestingly, they describe the nose as “Enticingly fragrant, with aromas of ripe grapefruit, white peaches, fennel and blackcurrant leaves, sprinkled with subtle notes of green chili pepper”. While I didn’t find the peaches, fennel or black currant leaves, I most certainly found the grapefruit and the green chili pepper.
Undurraga TH Sauvignon Blanc 2008
On the palate, this crisp white wine had a very heavy mouth feel, and was quite fruit forward. The mid palate was a bit uninspiring, and it lead to quite a tart finish. The acidity really wasn’t racy on the finish, and it seemed mostly round citrus fruit, finishing with a super-tart granny smith apple. With time, as the above mentioned melon comes out on the nose, the tart aspects of this Sauvignon Blanc really takes center state. I see this wine as a summer sipper, especially if you’re a fan of citrus fruit and tart green apples. It’s quite fruit driven, and not a lot of acid.
While it’s definitely a different style of some other Chilean Sauvignon Blancs I’ve recently written about, I think it’s fairly nice. I believe I saw it retail online for $10-12, and at that price, it’s worth a try. If you like grapefruit and tart granny smith apples, this wine is right up your alley. And if you just like crisp, citrus fruit driven Sauvignon Blancs, then see if you can give a bottle of Undurraga T.H. Sauvignon Blanc a try.
As an aside, I know that I normally do vlog wine reviews, but this is going to be the start of a few regular wine blog posts. I’ve been swamped lately, and just haven’t been able to pull the camera out before I break into the vino! I must have tasted about 25 wines in the past 3 weeks, and written down a bevy of notes. Once things calm down, between work and getting Robin’s wine business off the ground, I’ll get back to making fun wine video reviews for you to enjoy.
It’s time for another Wine Blogging Wednesday installment. This month’s topic comes from The Cork Dork, and he’s picked Kosher Wines, to coincide with month’s celebration of the Jewish holiday of Passover. For those of you who aren’t Jewish, please don’t turn away as these wines are not just Kosher, they’re pretty darned good. And with all of them coming in under $15, they’re pretty decent value wines, or good Quality to Price ratio (QPR) wines. And while Kosher wine may evoke thoughts of sickeningly sweet grape juice for some, I assure you none of these wines are of that caliber. The video, which had poor sound so please turn your speakers up, will have my tasting notes on the four wines. I tasted these wines prior to really doing in depth research on any of them. I was hoping to provide more information on each wine in the text part of the wine blog post itself. However, some information is lacking or non-existent, so please forgive me. If I find reliable sources for information, I’ll amend the post.
Alfasi Chardonnay 2007
I am not going to try and educate people on what it means to be Kosher. I will simply say it’s the dietary law that some people of Jewish faith observe. It includes “rules” about dairy and meat products not mixing at a meal, the proper slaughter of animals, and animals that should not be consumed. People of the Jewish religion can observe various levels of “keeping Kosher”, from a complete Kosher diet inside as well as outside the home, to keeping a Kosher home but not eating Kosher outside the home, to not observing at all. There is usually Rabbinical supervision over the processing of foods that are Kosher, including a blessing over the food. That’s about as deep as I care to delve into the subject, and I hope you understand.
The first kosher wine reviewed in the video was the 2007 Alfasi Chardonnay, from Maule Valley, Chile. I’ve been enjoying various Chilean wines recently, and was excited to find a Kosher wine from Chile. Unfortunately, similar to another blog’s review of an Alfasi wine, I find very little information about the wine or the producing winery online. It’s bottled by Carta Vieja, but they do not list Alfasi as one of the wines they offer on their website. This wine is Mevushal, which according to the importer of wine, means it’s fit for even the most Orthodox wine lover. The Alfasi Chardonnay had a very fruit forward palate, with “Tree Fruits” such as pear and apple, though there was certainly some tropical fruits, pineapple perhaps, present. There was a good bit of acid on the back end, and I believe that’s where the citrus flavor I found came from. While certainly a Chardonnay, it reminded me, very much so, of a Sauvignon Blanc with the citrus and acid on the palate. It’s a nice wine, definitely worth a shot at $11 retail. Another good value wine from Chile!
Ben Ami Chardonnay 2006
The second kosher wine for the Wine Blogging Wednesday review that I tasted was Ben ami Chardonnay, 2006, from Galil, Israel. The wine was made from 100% Chardonnay grapes and fermented in stainless steel tanks. Another disappointment when it came to searching for producer information. Nothing shows up about the winery. While I was able to find various stores selling the wine, and less than the $13 I paid in a local store, with shipping, it’ll net out to about the same price. You may notice that in the video, I was quite underwhelmed by this wine. The bouquet was uninviting, almost unpleasant and really didn’t start the tasting off on the right foot. This wine had plenty of tropical fruit on the palate, something I don’t normally look for in a Chardonnay. It had a heavy mouth feel, with that buttery quality to it. However, to me, it’s a pretty boring wine. The finish left me wanting something more, and I was disappointed. That being said, when we talk about Kosher wines, and the fact that this is under $14, I would be able to bring it somewhere without feeling like I brought white grape juice. It’s definitely an attempt at a serious, structured wine, just not one that is to my palate. However, it’s inexpensive enough to give a try and make your own opinions of.
Baron Herzog Chardonnay 2007
This brings us to our third Kosher chardonnay of the evening, The Baron Herzog 2006 Chardonnay. Thankfully, there is a website for Baron Herzog Wine Cellars, with information about their 2006 Chardonnay. I had thought there was perhaps some Viognier blended into the wine to give it the floral component I noted in the video. However, there is no mention of blending of grapes on the website. That leads me to believe it’s 100% Chardonnay, though I am not positive. The producer website says the wine could age well for two to four years, and given the fact that this retails for $13, I may put a bottle in the cellar to open in 2011 and re-review. This wine was certainly my favorite of the Kosher chardonnay wines, as the bouquet was quite inviting and aromatic, with a very interesting and enjoyable palate. The Herzog Wine Cellar website has some very interesting information on it, about the history of the winery, their sustainable wine growing efforts, and even a nice, detailed education on what Kosher wine is. A nice wine with fruit and floral notes, definitely a wine I’d serve during a summer backyard party, Kosher or not. Of course, my tasting notes are in the video, but I’ll say that if you’re looking for a fruit forward, almost floral summer white, give the Baron Herzog Chardonnay a try. I think you’ll find that it’s an interesting wine that offers pretty good quality for the price.
While that wraps up the three Kosher wines I tasted for the Wine Blogging Wednesday installment, it does not complete our world tour. While the mission of finding a well made, enjoyable Kosher wine was successful, certainly in the Alfasi and Baron Herzog wines, how did they stack up to a non-kosher wine? Trying to stay within the price range, I selected a South African Chardonnay, the Graham Beck 2007.
Graham Beck Chardonnay 2007
Hailing from Robertson, Cape, South Africa, this Chardonnay has a lot to offer. Definitely my preference of the tasting, it certainly was a high QPR wine. With it’s darker color, approaching a light golden hue, the nose on this chard is typical butter and vanilla. While a portion, about 30% of the wine, is fermented in various stages of French Oak, the balance is in stainless steel with malolactic fermentation not encouraged. This allows some of the butter and vanilla from the oak to show, without making it over oaky or masking the fruit, and offering crisp flavors in conjunction to the buttery nose, and palate. There’s also a nice finish with some acid on it, that balances it all very well, and is a nice finish to a nice wine. This wine is going to be splendid on its own, or great with a nice chicken dish, summer salad selection, and even fish of various types. I wouldn’t hesitate to break out a case of this at my next summer bash, and just might!
The Graham Beck Wines website is also chock full of interesting information. Like many wineries, they’re taking a responsible stance towards conservation and preservation of nature and the lands they use. They talk about their biodiversity drive, and what they’re doing to try and help the environment while still making quality wines. While this is very noteworthy, as is the various technological methods Graham Beck uses to ensure the quality of their wines is up to their high standards, I saw nothing about being a “green” or “organic” operation.
Thank you for visiting, and please let me know what you think of the video, and the blog post itself. I really threw all of this together within the last hour of my day, and apologize for the audio not being so hot, and the lack of techincal data on the wines. Let me know how I can improve my posts in the future, to make your wine experiences better!
Walking into the house, Robin’s first comment was not “Hi Honey” or even “Welcome home”. Her first comment of the evening was “This wine is great.” Backing up an hour, Robin called me while I was still at work, asking which wine she should open for the evening. I told her to grab any one of the 10 bottles of Chilean wine still in our wine cellar from the PR folks at “Wines of Chile”. She apparently picked the Reserva Sauvignon Blanc from Vina Mar, and was quite glad that she did.
As you my have already noticed, I am definitely a fan of Chilean wines, and believe they offer great value for the price. Last week I did a video wine review of Caliterra Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, also from Chile, and have written about Chilean wines a few other times. This white wine also hails from the Casablanca Valley of Chile, as the previous wines I reviewed did, with the Mar de Casablanca (Or Vina Mar, depending on where you look on the web) winery is 11 miles from the Pacific ocean and 25 miles from the port of Valporaiso. The ocean influence through the valley creates a huge concentration of fruit in the wine, which in my opinion is quite pleasant.
The vinification of the Mar Reserva Sauvignon Blanc (2008) was 30 days in stainless steel vats, with 2% of the wine aged in a mixture of French and American oak for 4 months. The label says the ABV is 14%, though the winery fact sheet lists it at 13.5% Alcohol by Volume. Either way, the alcohol doesn’t show through at all. All you will find in the bottle is a crisp, clean wine that goes down nicely.
Mar Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Though it doesn’t show well against the background, the color of this wine is nearly clear. I had first poured it against a white table cloth, and honestly thought Robin had finished the bottle and refilled it with water. However, the nose was so fragrant, I knew she hadn’t. There were tremendous amounts of grapefruit on the nose, at the peak of ripeness. Think sweet grapefruit, perhaps with just a hint of sugar sprinkled on top. Surround that grapefruit by flowers, subtle flowers, and you get the nose of this wine. Truly aromatic and magnificent. I could only hope it taste as beautiful as it smelled.
The first sip of this wine was a powerful as Robin’s welcome home statement earlier. Tremendously fruit forward, with ripe melon and light citrus notes, this wine danced in my mouth as gracefully as Fred Astaire in all of his movies. The transition to the finish was smooth, and the acid was moderate, but perfect for the wine. The finish went on forever, with passion fruit lingering on long past the last swallow.
We paired this wine with a “Smoked Chicken and Pasta” dish that had a subtle sauce that contained a little bit of tomato basil cream sauce. While I wouldn’t say it was a perfect pair, it was quite pleasant. This wine is fantastic on its own, a great summer sipper. It would also pair nicely with a cheese plate, or a host of appetizers. I wouldn’t hesitate to serve shrimp or other seafood with it either. Really, it’s pretty versatile. Order this with a nice salad, and you’ll have a complete meal.
While I wouldn’t say it’s a cheap wine, at $16 suggested retail it’s an affordable, reasonable white wine that shouldn’t be passed by. I think that in the $14-18 price range, this wine stands out nicely. I still have some other samples of Chilean wines to taste and review, but this is one that will definitely make an appearance at a backyard party this summer!
There is no doubt that I feel wines from Chile offer tremendous value. While many of you probably cut your “Red Wine Teeth” on Merlot or Zinfandel as first red wines, I was purchasing Chilean Carmenere two or three times a week when I first started drinking red wine. I always felt that for the money, you got a great wine with complex flavors while being very approachable. That’s why I am very excited that I’ve got a shipment of 12 different wines from Chile to drink and discuss with you. The first wine I had was Caliterra‘s Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2008, and I’m excited to talk about it!
With me, there is no joking when it comes to wine, so don’t look for the punch line in this wine blog post. All too often people select things based on their looks. People select their football picks based on who has the better uniform, or which quarterback looks cuter. Some select houses based on the looks of the yard or the view from the porch. And I am sure some of you select your wines based on the bottles and labels. Well, here’s one wine you MIGHT pass over based on it’s label, and I’m here to make sure you don’t. When I received this bottle of wine, it came with the idea of playing a joke on my friends and readers. Present them with a “goofy looking” bottle of wine (my words, not the words of the person giving me the wine), and surprise them with a value driven, quality wine instead. While the label on the Secreto 2008 sauvignon blanc is artistic and almost whimsical, the wine inside is nothing but serious.
If you missed the event, Thursday October 23rd was the 4th official Twitter Taste Live wine tasting event. It was organized by Craig from Bin Ends Wine, who finds a way to bring wine and twitter together each month. Twitter users (Twitterers?) will obtain the wines, and taste them together. We then tweet our tasting notes using a search tag #TTL. That tag allows you to use twitter search and find the wine tasting tweets (and some other #TTL tweets) to see what the results were. I’ve captured all of the #TTL tweets from this event here, and Craig puts them on the Twitter Taste Live home page! When using the link for the tweets, I start at the oldest tweet, so click “Newer” to see the night progress.