A White Wine That Won’t Leave You Bored- Santa Julia [+] Torrontes 2010

Continuing my exploration of Santa Julia’s new sustainable label [+], I opened a bottle of their 2010 Torrontes.  Torrontes is often refered to as the white wine of Argentina.  It’s not a wine that I drink often (this will be changing), but when I do I am always reminded of the vibrant aromas and flavors characteristic of the varietal.  If you haven’t heard much about Torrontes, I am guessing that will change over the next few years as it seems to be garnering a lot more attention with American wine lovers.  Santa Julia’s Torrontes is a great example of why there is all this new buzz about Argentina’s wine with a big personality.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Santa Julia [+] Torrontes 2010 is 100% Torrontes sustainably grown in the Mendoza region of Argentina.  It has 13.8% alcohol and retails for $10.  For more information see www.SantaJulia.com.ar or the importer at www.winesellersltd.com

Now The Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Santa Julia pours a pale white gold in the glass.  It has a powerfully aromatic nose filled with notes of grapefruit, rose, and peach.  The wine is light-bodied and refreshing with vibrant tastes of grapefruit, orange, pear, and ginger and a lively acidity that keeps your taste buds alert.  The wine has a long finish and the notes of grapefruit and ginger linger on with a hint of bitterness (similar to the bitterness from an orange peel).  If you are looking for a monotone, buttery white wine, skip this bottle…but if you want a refreshing white that won’t leave your mouth bored, grab a glass of Santa Julia [+] Torrontes and prepare to have your palate stimulated.  Cheers!

My Wine Rating- B+

Food Pairing Suggestions- Try this wine with Asian dishes, grilled Mahi Mahi, or a summer salad

*This wine was provided to me as a sample for the purpose of review

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A Sweet and Seductive Malbec- Santa Julia [+] Malbec 2010

Santa Julia Winery just recently released [+], their new line of sustainable wines from Argentina.  This eco-friendly line features Torrontes, Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Cabernet, and Malbec that all retail for around $10.  They kindly sent me a bottle of their Malbec (which is definitely one of my current wine crushes) and I was eager to see what the new line had to offer.

About The Wine- From the Winery

Santa Julia [+] Malbec 2010 is 100% Malbec sustainably grown in the Mendoza region of Argentina.  The wine has 13.7% alcohol and retails for $10.  For more information see www.SantaJulia.com.ar

Now The Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

This Malbec pours a deep, bright purple in the glass.  The wine has a seductive nose with notes of blackberries, vanilla, tobacco, and spice…the kind of aromas that make you want experience the flavors on your tongue.  The Santa Julia opens up with sweet tastes of blackberries, dark cherries, and blueberries with a hint of caramel and tobacco.  The wine is smooth and the notes of dark fruit reminisce during the long finish.  This is a great Malbec and it is incredibly priced at $10.  Great job by Santa Julia…I am looking forward to trying the rest of their [+] line of wines!

My Wine Rating- B+

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pairs perfectly with a juicy steak, osso bucco, or dark chocolate

*This wine was sent to me as a sample for review

 

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A Brouilly Perfect for a BBQ- Henri Plasse Brouilly 2009

Last week’s Beaujolais tasting was a fun experience and opened my taste buds up to wines that normally aren’t on my radar.  The final Beaujolais featured in the tasting was a Brouilly from Henri Plasse.  It was the heaviest wine of the night and a welcomed finale after three lighter wines.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Henri Plasse Brouilly 2009 is a Beaujolais made from 100% Gamay grapes.  It has 13% alcohol and retails for $16.99.

Now The Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Brouilly has a smokey nose with notes of blackberry and blueberry.  This medium-bodied wine tastes of juicy blackberries, blueberries, and smoke with an earthy finish.  Because of the smokiness of the wine, it is a great match for grilled meats.  An enjoyable wine that once again, as in the other three Beaujolais, makes a great companion for a grill and a warm summer night.  If it’s been a while since you sipped a Beaujolais (or maybe you have never had the chance to indulge in a glass), grab bottle this summer and enjoy!

My Wine Rating- B-

Food Pairing Suggestions- The wine would pair well with a burger topped with grilled mushrooms and onions, BBQ ribs, or steak fajitas

*This wine was provided to me as a media sample for the purpose of participating in a live tasting event

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A Great Summer Red- Domaines des Braves Régnié 2009

Red wine will probably never be jealous over my relationship with white wine.  I much prefer to drink it any time of day with almost any food (I definitely am guilty of drinking a heavier red from time to time when it’s sweltering outside even though a chilled bottle of white is sitting right beside it).  Because of this, I love finding a light red that is perfect for the hot summer months.  This Régnié definitely fits that mold and I was excited it was part of our Beaujolais tasting line-up.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Domaines des Braves Régnié 2009 is a Beaujolais made from 100% Gamay Grapes.  It has 13% alcohol and retails for $14.99.

Now The Fun Part- Tasting The Wine

The Régnié has a nose with notes of violet, plum, and oak.  This light-bodied red tastes of ripe raspberries and plum with a spicy finish of pepper and cumin.  It displays bright acidity that is perfectly balanced with its velvety, smooth texture and mild tannins.  This wine is easy like Sunday morning…I could sip on all day.  Go enjoy a glass or two and remember it is best served just slightly chilled!

My Wine Rating- B+

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pair this Régnié with grilled chicken, lamb, or a charcuterie plate

*This wine was provided to me as a media sample for the purpose of participating in a live tasting event

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A Balanced Beaujolais Blanc- Jean-Paul Brun Beaujolais Blanc 2010

I was very lucky to have the opportunity to participate in a live tasting event hosted by Discover Beaujolais on Twitter.  Four very different bottles of Beaujolais arrived at my door last week and yesterday we had the chance to taste them and tweet about them.  Beaujolais has long been the underdog of French wines, looked down upon by many wine snobs, and viewed as a “less serious” wine.  After tasting all 4 wines, I can honestly say that while I love a great, expensive Burgundy, I really enjoyed the Beaujolais.  For under $20, each bottle delivered a wonderful wine that was easy to sip and perfect for summer BBQ’s.

The first wine we sipped was a Beaujolais Blanc from Jean-Paul Brun.  This Beaujolais Blanc is made from the Chardonnay grape and was a great way to start the tasting. (reviews of the other 3 bottles to follow next week)

About the Wine- From the Winery

Jean-Paul Brun Beaujolais Blanc is 100% Chardonnay from France.  It has 12% alcohol and retails for $15.97.  For more information see www.LouisDressner.com

Now The Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Beaujolais Blanc has a crisp, fruity nose.  This light-bodied wine has tastes of pear, apple, and citrus that combine with nice mineral notes.  It’s not complex but it is so easy to sip and perfect for a warm summer afternoon.   Definitely give this wonderfully balanced Beaujolais Blanc from Jean-Paul Brun a try and let me know what you think!  Cheers and enjoy the weekend!

My Wine Rating- B

Food Pairing Suggestions- This wine would go perfectly with grilled seafood including tuna and sea bass.

*This wine was provided to me as a sample for the purpose of participating in a live tasting event

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An Incredible Value From Chile- Vina Falernia Syrah Reserva 2007

Lately, I have been exploring a lot of wines from Chile, Spain, and Argentina.  I have found time and time again that they deliver wonderful wines for an incredible value.  One of the latest wines I have sipped is Vina Falernia Syrah Reserva from Chile.  There has been a lot of buzz about the wine (it was Wine Spectator’s wine of the week in June) so I was excited to see if it lived up to all the hype. 

About the Wine- From the Winery

Vina Falernia Syrah Reserva 2007 is from the D.O. Elqui Valley appellation in Chile.  It has 14% alcohol and retails for $15 (although it can easily be found for around $10).  For more information see www.Falernia.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting The Wine

This Syrah pours deep plum in the glass.  The nose is intriguing with aromas of dark fruit, pepper, violet, and a hint of smoke.  The wine has bold tastes of plum, ripe blackberry, and smoke with a smooth and peppery finish.  I immediately want another sip because of the interesting layers of flavor.  The Vina Falernia Syrah Reserva is unique and makes a statement…and it’s a statement I like.  I think this is a great wine for the price that will definitely awaken your senses.  Grab a bottle and let me know what you think!

My Wine Rating- B+

*Food Pairing Note- The smokiness makes this wine great for grilled steaks, BBQ ribs, or smoky chipotle fajitas.

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A New Bargain from Trader Joe’s- Hillgate 2009 Zinfandel

I shop at Trader Joe’s at least twice a week and I am always scanning the wine section for great deals.  If you have ever visited a Trader Joe’s you know they have a lot of wine at super low prices.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to know which of those wines are actually worth the bargain price they are asking.  One of their newer bottles is Hillgate Zinfandel 2009 for $6.99.  The question is will this be a hit or miss for Trader Joe’s? 

About the Wine- From the Winery

Hillgate 2009 Zinfandel is from Lake County and has 14.9% alcohol.  It retails for $6.99 and can be found at Trader Joe’s.

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Hillgate pours dark garnet in the glass.  It has a big nose of blackberry, raspberry, and vanilla with hints of pepper.  The fruit forward palate has tastes of ripe blackberry, plum, and vanilla with a smooth, peppery finish (a little sweet but the peppery finish balances it out before it becomes overwhelming).  This wine isn’t going to change your life but for $6.99, it’s definitely worth a glass or three!  If you try it, let me know what you think!

My Wine Rating- B-

*Food Pairing Suggestions- Great wine for a summer BBQ…think casual food like burgers, grilled pizza, steaks, etc.

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A Chardonnay Not to be “Overlooked”

I must admit, I drink a lot of wine.  I also must admit that I don’t drink a lot of Chardonnay.  I do like it, but often when I am ordering a glass or buying a bottle, I am overwhelmed by the urge to buy a Pinot from Oregon, an Argentinian Malbec, or maybe even a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc…but I somehow miss the mark when it comes to picking out a great Chardonnay.  I wasn’t going to let that mistake happen today when I visited one of my favorite wine shops so I reached for a bottle of Landmark Overlook Chardonnay.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Landmark Overlook 2009 Chardonnay is from the Sonoma Valley and is 100% Chardonnay.  It has 14.5% alcohol and retails for $28 (although it can be found for around $22).  For more information see www.Landmarkwine.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Landmark Overlook Chardonnay pours a golden color in the glass.  It has a nose that draws you in with aromas of lime, orange, green apple, and oak.  This rich Chardonnay has abundant flavors of pineapple, lime, and mango that mingle in your mouth with a touch of honey.  The wine has a wonderful dry finish with subtle notes of oak.  My title may be a little cheesy but I am really serious when I say that this wine shouldn’t be overlooked.  Go out, grab a bottle, and enjoy!  I heard the 2007 and 2008 vintages are pretty outstanding as well so you can’t go wrong.

My Wine Rating- A-

*Food Pairing Suggestions- Perfect with grilled grouper over mashed potatoes or Asian-style chicken with black bean sauce

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Wednesday Wine Pick- La Posta Cocina Malbec 2009

This week I found my Wednesday Wine Pick at a Rolf’s Wine in Newport Beach.  They have a nice little selection of wines at reasonable prices.  I wanted to grab a bottle to take to a weekend BBQ (pretty much a summer staple every weekend that I always look forward to) so I decided to browse the wines from Argentina.  I picked up a bottle of Malbec from La Posta highly recommended by the clerk in hopes it would be a crowd pleaser.

About the Wine- From the Winery

La Posta Cocina Malbec 2009 is from Argentina and is 100% Malbec.  It has 13.5% alcohol and retails for $15 (I purchased it for $13.99 at Rolf’s).  For more information you can visit www.LaPostaVineyards.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The La Posta was pretty tight upon opening so we let it decant for an hour or so.  After decanting, this Malbec really came to life with a nose of dark cherry, blackberry, and spice.  This is an intense and taste bud awakening wine…and I am liking it!  Flavors of blackberry, dark cherry, and a hint of dark chocolate are balanced with earthy tannins.  A great wine for the BBQ that everyone loved!

My Wine Rating- B+

*Food Pairing Suggestions- Perfect with a juicy steak or burger off the grill and would also be a great complement to dark chocolate (Green and Black’s 70% is my fave!).

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2007 Cosentino “The Franc” Cabernet Franc

I had a great wine weekend…I drank some wonderful Rosé and Malbec, tried a Sparkling Shiraz for the first time (not my style but unique none the less), and also tried a new Cab Franc at one of my favorite wine bars.  Cosentino Winery has been making wine in Napa for over 30 years and I was excited to try their 2007 Cab Franc.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Cosentino 2007 “The Franc”  is a blend of 83% Cab Franc and 17% Merlot.  The wine is from California and has 15.5% alcohol.  It retails for $20 a bottle and you can find more information at www.CosentinoWinery.com

Now For the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Cosentino pours a deep garnet in the glass.  It has aromas of dark cherry, plum, and ripe blackberry.  The wine has a juicy palate with tastes of ripe cherry, plum, and cranberry followed by round tannins and notes of cedar.  The finish is medium and smooth.  Definitely a rich and taste bud enticing Cab Franc.  A good job by Cosentino!

My Wine Rating- B

*Food Pairing Note- This Cab Franc would go wonderfully with short ribs, a grilled spiced duck breast, or a pizza with green peppers and mushrooms

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