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!
100% Mourvèdre from the Sierra Foothills. Native yeasts, minimal CO2. Screwcap closure. 14.2% alcohol and a suggested retail of $26.
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!
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.
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)
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)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
100% Tempranillo from the Rioja region of Spain. Organically farmed. 13% alcohol and a retail price of around $10.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous 2014! We will have new posts later this week but are taking one more day to relax and spend time with friends and family! Hope everyone enjoys a day off along with plenty of wine and good food!