A Beautiful and Bright Mourvèdre from La Clarine Farm

I can’t pass up buying an interesting Mourvèdre…especially one that people I know love and constantly talk about on social media (note: social media DOES sell wine).  So, when I stumbled across a bottle from La Clarine Farm, I had to bring it home with me.  La Clarine Farm was started by Hank Beckmeyer and Caroline Hoel in 2001.  They adhere to biodynamic farming practices and produce beautiful, terroir driven wines.  I was definitely excited to pour my first glass!

La Clarine Farm Cedarville Mourvèdre 2012
La Clarine Farm Mourvèdre “Cedarville” 2012

Technical Stuff

100% Mourvèdre from the Sierra Foothills. Native yeasts, minimal CO2. Screwcap closure. 14.2% alcohol and a suggested retail of $26.

Tasting Notes

Lovely aromas of violet and earth welcome in a vibrant palate.  There are notes of red fruit, spice, and herbs along with healthy acidity.  Beautiful and bright…it’s a shame it is already sold out!

http://laclarinefarm.com/ 

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Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel BrandLive Tasting!

On Wednesday evening, I had the chance to get together with several other bloggers and taste through three Dry Creek Valley Field Blend Zinfandels on Twitter.  This tasting was particularly cool because the winemakers behind the Zins were simultaneously hosting a live Q&A on BrandLive.  The tasting was super informative as it was awesome to hear the winemakers’ perspectives on their wines and the region in general.  Here are the tasting notes from the Zins we sampled.

A great line up from Dry Creek Valley!
A great line up from Dry Creek Valley!

Tasting Notes

Ridge 2011 Lytton Springs

A blend of 82% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, and 2% Carignane with earthy tastes of black fruit and licorice.  Healthy acidity and quite graceful for a Zinfandel.  The standout of the tasting for me.  (14.4% alcohol, $38)

Dutcher Crossing 2012 Bernier Sibary Vineyard Zinfandel

This wine is composed of 75% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 10% Carignane, and 5% Mourvedre.  It had the most pronounced oak influence (yet still not overpowering) as well as tastes of rich, dark fruit and hints of vanilla.  Not my style but easy to see how it would appeal to a lot of wine drinkers. (14.9% alcohol, $43)

Dry Creek Vineyard 2011 Beeson Ranch Zinfandel

Aromas of dark fruit and spice are found in this field blend of 85% Zinfandel and 15% Petite Sirah.  The palate is smooth and balanced with black fruit, licorice, and a lengthy finish.  Nicely done!  (13.5% alcohol, $38)

*Media Samples

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Martian Ranch 2012 Uforic Albariño

Martian Ranch is a winery located in Los Alamos that seems to be gathering a lot of buzz among wine geeks.  They produce several different wines biodynamically that are reasonably priced and consistently intriguing.  I was pretty excited to receive a bottle of their 2012 Uforic Albariño as it was the first Santa Barbara Albariño I have tasted.

Martian Ranch 2012 Uforic Albariño
Martian Ranch 2012 Uforic Albariño

Technical Stuff

100% Albariño from Santa Barbara County.  Indigenous yeasts, no fining, minimal filtering, and a very small SO2 addition.  13% alcohol and a retail price of around $22/bottle.

Tasting Notes

Pouring a rich yellow-gold color in the glass, this wine opens with beautiful floral aromas.  There are also notes of apricot and tangerine.  The palate has nice texture and is vibrant with plenty of spice, acidity, and tropical fruit.  A fantastic introduction to Santa Barbara County Albariño!

*Media Sample

http://www.martianvineyard.com/

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Wine Cooler Review – NewAir AW-180E Thermoelectric Wine Cooler

Wine coolers…with the amount of wine we purchase and drink, they will always be in demand in our house.  It is definitely best to store wine at a proper serving temperature but, sadly, a lot of wine drinkers don’t do this.  This being said, I was pretty excited to receive NewAir’s 18 bottle wine cooler and give it a try.

The AW-180E Thermoelectric Wine Cooler has a sleek design and is compact enough to fit in small kitchens or other environments where space might be an issue.  The cooler stores up to 18 bottles at serving temperature (range of 54-66 degrees) and features a vibration-free cooling system to protect against sediment. The controls are digital and the system is very quiet.

A sleek and sophisticated wine cooler from NewAir
A sleek and sophisticated wine cooler from NewAir

Overall, we have been pretty impressed with the cooler.  The only con is that storing large bottles (especially 18 large bottles) can be challenging as the space between racks is a bit tight.  I think that this is an excellent cooler for storing everyday bottles.  Not only would it be great in a home kitchen, but it would also be an excellent system for an office environment.  As a matter of fact, that is where we will placing ours so we can offer clients a glass of wine at proper temperature when they come to visit us 🙂 .

So, if you are on the market for a new wine cooler, definitely look into NewAir’s 18 bottle system.  It is practical, modern, and a perfect fit for tight spaces!

www.newair.com 

*Media Sample

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Viña Ijalba Livor 2012 Tempranillo

I stopped by Domaine LA a few weeks ago and a bottle of Viña Ijalba Livor Tempranillo caught my eye.  To be honest, I have spent so much time drinking wines from France, Italy, and California lately that I have been skipping over Spain almost entirely.  This bottle turned out to be a great, everyday find and I am glad I strayed away from my normal routine!

Technical Stuff

100% Tempranillo from the Rioja region of Spain.  Organically farmed.  13% alcohol and a retail price of around $10.

Viña Ijalba 2012 Livor Tempranillo
Viña Ijalba 2012 Livor Tempranillo

Tasting Notes

Aromas of bright cherries and spice are followed with straightforward tastes of juicy, red fruit and hints of herbs.  The finish is spicy and the acidity is balanced.  A terrific mid-week wine that pairs really well with lamb or pork!

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Unti Vineyards 2009 Syrah

We took some time over the holidays to open several bottles of wine we picked up a couple of years ago in Sonoma.  One of the wines opened was a 2009 Syrah from Unti Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley.  Unti Vineyards was founded by the Unti family in 1997.  Over time, they have come to naturally produce beautiful wines, including a Syrah and Grenache that I really enjoy.  2009 was a great growing season for Unti and their Syrah really reflects these optimal conditions.

Technical Stuff

100% Syrah.  Whole cluster fermentation with native yeasts.  Aged in 100% French Oak (30% new) for 14 months.  13.7% alcohol with a retail price of around $25/bottle.

Unti Vineyards 2009 Syrah
Unti Vineyards 2009 Syrah

Tasting Notes

Rich aromas of earth, anise, and dark fruit.  The palate is full of intense, dark fruit along with spicy notes of anise.  Pure flavors and a smooth, long finish.  A very nice example of Dry Creek Valley Syrah.

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