Friday, May 20, 2016

XO Tawny Port – NV; Stone House Vineyard; Spicewood, Texas

Yes!  For anyone that’s familiar with the traditional port making process, this port can be considered 50 years old.  The flavors of Eden are quite prevalent in this burnt amber jewel.  Tilt the glass on its side, and you’ll see a slight golden twinkle on the edges of this precious little gem.  The nose up front is loaded with toffee and oak.  Quite enticing!  The sights and smells help prime your taste buds for a wonderfully soft, silky, toasted pecan flavor that is classic and satisfying with this tawny port. Mellow caramel notes embrace your taste buds to put that happy sweet smile on your lips. Lovely, isn’t it? This treat will make any night better and best of all this port will last a while in the bottle.  You’ll definitely have many more sweet dreams ahead with this one. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

3V – 2014; Casa Madero; Valle de Parras, Mexico

Let’s talk about a great tasting smooth red from Mexico.  Yes, it’s delicious, aromatic and you’ll wish you had an extra bottle to enjoy again later. Don’t let the vintage fool you, with a good hour of natural aeration you’ll be good to go with this wine.  It is a Cabernet Sauvignon 34%, Merlot 33%, Tempranillo 13% blend from the Valle de Parras region. The wine presents itself initially with some great color in soft light. Take a few sips, and you’ll be pleased with the subtle flavors of strawberries, cherries, plums and red ripe fruit that melds into a nice mellowness. Yes, it is quite fruit forward at first, but the soft tannins help tame that initial “sweet” sense.  It’s medium bodied with a nice middle feel.  This wine has a smooth finish toward the end to cap off a great wine tasting experience.  Yes, proof that there are great wines to be found in an unexpected places and quite possibly a wine region you're not very familiar with in the Americas.  Next, you may want to actually visit Casa Madero, which is one of the oldest wineries in the Americas and in Mexico.  Definitely enjoy this wine well! Cheers!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Cabernet Sauvignon – 2004; Light Cather Winery; Fort Worth, Texas

Whether you’ve waited 12 years to try this wine or you just forgot and rediscovered it makes no difference.  You’re in for one of those magnificent wine experiences.  The grapes for this wine started on their journey from Newsom Vineyards.  That alone tells you that quality fruit was used and this wine is off to a great start.  Add some good wine making and patience, and you have a great cabernet wine just waiting to be admired in the glass with aromas to be inhaled and finally sipped to be savored!   The aromas and flavors you get are still holding up well.  With big black cherries, berries, and plums, enticing you for more, you know you’ve opened the right bottle today. Surprisingly, the tannins are still holding up nicely,  so you might be able to keep this bottle around in a good cellar for a couple of more years.  Bring on that thick, fatty, and juicy steak to compliment the wine experience.  You deserved it for waiting this long!  Cheers!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Armadillo Leap Winery – Fredericksburg, Texas

You may have seen some of these wine brands at some local wine stores before.  Armadillo Leap is a sister winery of Pedernales Cellars with more focus on experimenting with non-Texas grapes.  Founded by the Kuhlken-Osterberg family, they opened last December on the popular US. HWY 290 wine road.  They are located where the Pink Pig restaurant used to be. It’s a nice and spacious building with a back deck that has great views looking west towards Fredericksburg.  Back during our visit in January, they had six Armadillo Leap wines, two Chlo-Jack wines from Bending Branch and a Glogg.  The first Armadillo Leap wine on the list is a Sparkling Moscato.  Sourced with grapes from New Mexico, it has citrus aromas and pleasant semi-sweet feel that would pair well with appetizers and snacks. The 2013 Viognier/Roussanne blend is a good balance of these two varietals.  The 2013 Viognier single varietal is pretty smooth and would pair well with some local spicy dishes.  The ‘Red’ is a Tempranillo from Lubbock that is fairly smooth with a long finish.  The ‘BFF’ is a lovely Italian style blend.  The “secret blend” (perhaps some Sangiovese, Montepulciano, and Dolcetto?) has very nice soft tannins and a pleasant long finish.  The last Armadillo Leap wine, Muscat, is a sweet dessert wine with strong citrus flavors.  The Chlo-Jack Rose’ is made from Servadou grapes.  It’s a good warm afternoon sipping treat.  The Chlo-Jack Red is a bold Petite Syrah for the dedicated red wine lover.  The Stonewall Glogg is one of the winery’s seasonal products that is fortified with 18% brandy.  It’s a great traditional spiced wine for winter and the holiday season.  Come check out this new place when you’re nearby and share a sip or two.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I-1 NV; Location Wines; Italy

This is our first taste at Location Wines.  Location Wines are a series of wines crafted by Dave Phinney of Orin Swift Cellars to show the “best” characteristics of wines from various regions around the world. Our first look at one of these wines is an Italian wine labeled I - 1.  It is a blend of mostly Negroamaro, Nero d’Avola, and Barbera grapes.  This featured wine could definitely use a good hour or so of decanting to allow it to fully open up.  It was quite hot after the first pour. You’ll note aromas of raspberries and plums while being in awe of its deep purple to ruby red hue. You’ll taste some olives and blueberry, followed by some strong spicy notes with a bit of acidity. It is quite tannic with a very long lingering finish.  You may even pick up on some minerality towards the end. Overall the wine has a good character and a nice medium body.  Not bad for a featured wine to help us all gain a better sense of the terroir and wine making styles with different varietals of a particular country or region.  More location wines will be sampled and reported on this year! Saluti!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Roussanne La Cuvee Principale Reserve - 2012; Calais Winery; Hye, Texas

Have you already googled this wine?  Are you still in disbelief that it was aged for 30 months? We'll we can attest that it is very true and if you are still in doubt, then the wonderful taste and aromas from this wine will make you a believer.  Leave it to Ben Calais to be able to age this Roussanne so long and have it turn out so well.  The deep golden color makes it look like a 10+ year old white, but that's the result of the small tight oak barrel method.  It may initially come across has high alcohol, but trust us it is not.  What you'll get are some complex notes of almonds to nutmeg which is quite a treat. Yes, for real!  Now prepare your palate for some interesting flavors.  Let's just lay it out a few samples - butter, goat cheese, caramel, truffle,....oh my!  And yes, that is some heat you feel with the finish.  Top that off with some acidity and pepperiness and wow!  Nice, eh?  For 30 months, you might already have preconditioned your brain to prepare for strong oak, but surprisingly it's light to moderate on the oak notes. Indeed,  Ben figured out the magic to bring forth different notes in these grapes. This is just an absolutely lovely Roussanne that any white wine connoisseur would love to have in their inventory.  If you're up for an interesting comparison, do try his 2012 Roussanne.  Of course, you might have to wait a while before we post our thoughts on that one,  but there's no stopping you from enjoying both now.    Drink well our wine fans and thoroughly enjoy this one as it is a real treat! Santé!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Harper’s Hill – NV; Maydelle Country Wines; Rusk, Texas

Chocolate Mint wine?  Why, yes!  If you love mint chocolate, you just might find yourself indulging in this wine.  This one is amber in color and definitely has strong mint aromas.  When tasting, neither the chocolate or mint flavors overpower each other.  Both the mint and chocolate notes seem to complement each other quite well.  Yes, it’s sweet and a savory sweet as well.  Pair this with your favorite sweet dish or enjoy on its own. It’s one unique way to show your appreciation to your sweetheart and indulge your chocolate and mint cravings!