Life is better on the corner, the place where great wines meet reasonable prices!




Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wines of Palma de Mallorca: Spotlight on Bodegas Macià Batle

Fresh off the boat, heading off to a wonderful couple of days here in Barcelona. As I write this post, I find myself here in what is a very inviting destination. Barcelona, appears to be a very artistic locale, which wonderfully blends the old and new worlds together wonderfully.

Earlier in the week, I had the opportunity to visit a wonderful winery on the lovely island of Palma de Mallorca, which many of the locals simply call Palma.

My wife and I joined a group from the ship, which took a wonderful tour of the Palma coastline to see the highlights and then we were off to a outstanding winery called Bodegas Macia Baile. Their winery, is located in Santa María del Camí [Majorca] and all labeled with the Majorcan Denomination of Origin.

It's a crying shame that their wines are not imported into the U.S. market place. I hope there's an importer out there in the vinosphere paying attention to this little voice [my blog] crying in the vino wilderness, "import these wines into the U.S. market". On the island itself I was told that nearly eighty percent of the wine Macia Batle produces is consumed by the folks who live there and who can blame them for not really wanting to share.

A winery which understands and embraces wine-tourism is really refreshing, I was so glad I had the opportunity to visit with fine folks at Macia Batle. The quality of the wine was front and center, I was overall very impressed with the substance of the two wines we sampled. We started out with a brief tour of the winery and given some succinct talking points about how they get things done. Afterward we walked into a large room, great stems awaited, a large vegetarian brick-oven pizza was sliced, diced and ready to make folks smile.

The stems we sampled the wine in was, Schott Zweisel [smart move], they had prepared some tasty snacks which paired marvelously with the two different wines, one a vegetarian pizza that was crazy good and some wonderful their very tasty olive oils, seasoned with their famous sea-salts and some pâté-covered crackers. There was also olive tapenade one that paired with the white wine and other with the red wine. The pours were generous and open bottles were left to their guests discretion.

As we sipped on our wines, each one being described with just enough detail so as not make our eyes glaze over, all while our large group snacked and slurped away. Later after the tasting our group was invited upstairs to their retail store where we could purchase not only the wine, but the tapenade, olive oil, and other assorted souvenirs. If you wanted a taste of an untried wine, again a nice stem was whipped out and a nice pour was given from already opened bottles, without even a hint of hesitation.

It was really great to see a winery who truly "gets" wine-tourism and speaking honestly many other old world wineries may just want to emulate or embrace their model. Because it looks like they are doing pretty well, a thoroughly modern winery, open and inviting to guests and producing some premium vino. The whole process of this winery tour was handled wonderfully and professionally [encouraged purchasing]. Which ensued almost immediately, I went home with two bottles myself. Something I really couldn't say about some of the other wineries we encountered on our trip, so kudos to Bodegas Macia Batle you're doing a great job.

The first wine we encountered was their 2010 Blanc de Blanc, a dynamic blend of Prensal Blanc and Chardonnay which will knock your socks off. A dry white wine with vibrant mouth-watering acidity, bright apple like flavors, tropical notes and creamy palate that finishes very nicely with great depth. This wine sells for about eight Euros, but only EU countries will can have this wine delivered to your door step.

The second wine we sampled was the Macia Baile Crianza 2008 a wonderful mind-bending blend of Manto Negro, Callet and Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose on this wine is forever and ever. I really didn't want to take my fat half-Irish nose out of the glass. On the nose a vibrant bouquet of aromas over-flowing into the air, plum, strawberry, licorice, kirsch and nice minerality. The palate is fat and generous leading to a long lengthy finish. Full of dark red and dark fruit flavors and a zing of minerality laid over polished tannins, drink now and drink often or hold to improve.

This wine sells for about nine Euros, a definite buy recommendations for you red wine fans, a stunning wine for the price. Mallorca's fame for making premium wines is reaffirmed by this very modern and smart winery that has it going on.

Well folks that's all I have for you today, I hope that whatever you are drinking, that you're enjoying to the fullest. If you ever have an opportunity to taste the wines from the Bodegas Macia Batle on the beautiful island of Palma, I would highly encourage you to do so. Time to head out on the town, while I'm here Barcelona, until next time live long and prosper cheers everyone!

Friday, June 24, 2011

DO Catalunya: 2006 Romon Raqueta, Reserva

Hey folks just a quick note, picked up this very tasty "reserva" while waiting to get on the cruise ship in Barcelona. Great food pairing wine, plummy flavors, smooth tannins a very nice finish. Great with Napoli style pizza, if you have the chance I hope you will give this very tasty wine a swirl. I picked up for about 14 euros. Cheers!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pinot Report: Casillero del Diablo Pinot Noir 2010

Folks here we go again, another tasty treat from our friends down in Tasty-Town otherwise known as Chile and more specifically the Casablanca Valley. I've said it before and I will say it again, only because I think it bears repeating, the Pinot Noir coming out of this area is going to really start turning some heads and all the other media chumps are proably licking their chops to get that type of story published, because the Casablanca Valley in Chile is kicking some serious A$$ in the Pinot Noir department. I know everyone in this audience loves a yummy tasting Pinot Noir and when it happens to come in a bottle that sells just somewhere south of ten dollars, it means happy days are here again.

The prices are low and the quality is filled with über goodness, feel me? This makes the fourth Pinot Noir from Chile that has really made me think, hmmm what's the bleep is going on down there? The following sentence is filed under just saying; so hey you Wines of Chile folks, if you'd like this humble [ok, maybe not so humble] cork-dork to come down and take a closer look at the goings-on in Casablanca, well I'm your man [now back to your regularly scheduled review].

That said, in today's spotlight is the Casillero Del Diablo Pinot Noir, which impressed me from the moment I opened the bottle. Frankly folks, I'm always skeptical of inexpensive vino and typically have what only can be referred to as apparent disdain [if this makes me a snob, then so be it] for what is often your garden variety bulk juice only fit for a box, especially when the wine in question sells under $10 [most times]. Let's face it, honestly there's not a lot of wine in the ten [$10] and under category that will make me take notice, but when it earns it stripes like this wine did last night, I give credit where credit is due. But hey, what do I know, I'm just a wine-blobber.  

Other Voices: To build my case and prove my point with an organization that has a just a tad bit more credibitliy than myself, thus I give you a quick quote by Steven Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, who had this to say about their 2009 PN. "Vivid, spicy and straight forward and very easy to drink, with no excess"~ Josh Reynolds reporting for the STIWC. and gave this wine 87 points.

Swirly, Sniff and Slurp: I uncorked this baby last night with Portabella stuffed ravioli, bathed in a truffle reduction sauce, laid over a sauteed bed of organic spinach and I sliced in some left over Pot Roast, oh-my game on. So anyways back to the glass, a beautiful, bright rhubarb colored core, tasty aromas of tart cranberry and strawberry jam freshly slid upon a toasted baguette. On the palate an immediate attack of perfectly ripe fresh strawberries and sharp raspberry's, a bit of rich earth and hint of cocoa, smooth inviting tannins and youthful but mouth watering acidity. This a great food wine or just a fun wine to sip on, while kicking your heels up on the luv-seat watching your favorite reality show.

What's the score?: Weighing at just 13.8% abv and with the tastiness factor heading toward the good range, I gave this wine a solid 87 points and would recommend to anyone looking for a Pinot Noir on the expensive side of the equation. So easy on eyes and the wallet, what more could you ask for? Well folks that's all you got today, I hope you'll seek this wine out for yourself, until next time sip long and prosper, cheers!

Full Disclosure: This wine was sent as a media sample for the wine review process.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wine of the Week: 2007 Cavalierino Poggiano Di Montepulciano [Organic]

"A full cup of wine at the right time is worth more than all the kingdoms of this earth!" ~ Gustav Mahler

Another winner, wow this wine really delivers the goods and hits every note of tastiness that it possibly could except there's no long, caressing finish. But who cares, this an amazing "unfiltered" [screen decanting recommended] foodie type of wine that will easily merry with many types of Italian fare and give you that "Under the Tuscan Sun" feeling with each and every mouth-watering sip. 

In doing just a bit of research about the wine and the winery, they've a David vs. Goliath vibe going on, which draws you into rooting for the "underdog" something we as American's are very fond of doing. This is made easier by the fact that the price of admission gives a lot of bang for the buck.

The Winery: Great new discovery of a Tuscan winery called Cavalierino or little horse [reflected on the label], which is a small [relatively new] winery in the rolling hills of Poggiano [fantastic views]. It can be found just within a stone’s throw from the historical towns of Montepulciano [not to be confused with the grape of the same name] and Pienza just south of Siena, in Italy's brilliant Tuscany region. Cavalierino sits high on a hill with just over 154 prime acres of vineyards, brimming with olive groves and a impressive array of cypress trees lining the drive up to the winery.

According to their creative-director Lorenzo Ottaviani.“It is very difficult for a new small winery to emerge in the prime wine producing region of Tuscany" [but not impossible] and continued his thought by saying, "my strategic approach embraced such a handicap with enthusiasm".

Swirl, Sniff and Slurp: A blend of 75% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon in the glass finds a nicely colored garnet core. After stuffing my nose into the glass, fresh inviting aromas of dark cherry and blackberry and some finely ground herbal notes. 

In the glass this wine displays juicy mouth-watering acidity which keep the abundant red and dark fruit flavors in check and the nearly ripe but easy-going tannins meld ever so nicely into the medium length finish. Again a real food pairing wine, that will make you look like a wine and food pairing phenom.

Full Disclosure: This wine was provided as media sample to Wine Harlots who graciously shared the  bottle with my wife and I over dinner, to the delight of us both, after another bottle opened before hand had a lackluster moment on stage.

What's the Score: On the score-front my initial impression was 87 points. But after a few more sips and thinking about this wines wonderful qualities and writing down my thoughts, I pushed the score up to a solid 90 points. With that said, I give this wine a hearty "buy" recommendation. This wine sells for about $22 USD and $17 Euros abroad. I'm not sure where it can be purchased, as I could not find a place that offers this wine here or imports this wine into the US market at the moment. 

However, if you live in the EU, I'm sure this bottle would be easily obtainable and I would recommend seeking it out. But remember, like I mentioned earlier, this wine would be best decanted. As I found it's throwing quite a bit of "unfiltered" sediment once you get near the end of the bottle. That's it for today, I hope you enjoyed this jaunt over to Tuscany and will join me next time for a trip down tasty-lane. Until next time sip long and prosper, cheers!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Winemakers Collection: Cuvée Number One

In today's review spotlight is a bottle of 2005 Bordeaux from the vineyards of Chateau d' Arsac in France. This bottle of is part of what's called the "winemakers collection" an interestly different approach to winemaking in that each year a different winemaker will put his spin on grapes from the same terroir, same vineyard, but from entirely different vintage year.

The winemakers involved in the project each year are among some of the very best in the world and like an artist each one comes with their own unique perspective on the winemaking process. So while there will be no consistency of style and flavor you do have a unique opportunity to take in a number of different impressions off a very similar canvas each vintage. This bottle was the first in the series and already the others are available for purchase if you feel so inclined.

For many the price of admission to experience this "experiment" first hand is a bit on the pricey side of the equation. For many a bottle of wine over $45 far exceeds the bounds of the "everyday-drinker" category, thus causing a majority of the wine-swirling masses to reject this experiment on the grounds that a wine of this type is nothing more than a sheer indulgence.

Be that as it may, I found this bottle of Bordeaux from the Haut-Medoc AOC to be quite good, although it was not made in a style that's indicative of this region [more new world in style]. Now, I've seen a few reviews which claimed that this wine had an over-the-top ABV and that it's over extracted, I think they must have been drinking a different bottle of wine, as the label only purports a 13.5% abv and if that is high or off-putting, I'm not sure I understand the POV connected to that opinion.

Swirly, Sniffy and Slurp: In the glass a hedonistic deep colored, intense ruby leaning toward purple core. The nose is immediately inviting and expressive, with a raft of rich, yet classy cherries, blackberries, and tobacco. After the first splash down you have a wonderfully approachable wine, right off the bat with or without decanting tasting more like a fat-Napa-Cab, than a bottle of Bordeaux [not sure what the point is though]. A soft, dry wine with very mellow tannins that invite early and often quaffing now, but it may reward down the road with a little more time in bottle. A bounty of flavor awaits those who can't wait to uncork this mammoth of flavor and finesse. Ripe cherries, blackberries, smokey elements, bacon-fat, wonderfully
interlaced minerality and pleasing acidity hits in all the right places. I agree with Parker's score on this wine and give a 92-94 points. This wine will not disappoint those seeking a hedonistic wine experience.  I think it's worth the price of admission, an gave this wine a hearty buy recommendation. Until next time sip, long and prosper, cheers!

This paragraph falls under the heading of hmmm what do you think? Well I guess, I'm far too wordy and perhaps I need to edit down my verbiage to a few sentences I'm told that my style of wine reviews is far too verbose and just bloated with insignificant fluff, coupled with my folksy approach on the subject that is certainly not endearing. I guess it's time to take stock of my writing style. That said, todays review has been greatly paired down, from my normal wine review style. But what do you think, I would appreciate any of you my readers insights and or suggestions.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wine and Roses Charity Wine Event: Huge Vino Sale

Hey San Diego, if you would like to support a good cause, taste some great vino, snack on some very tasty chef inspired snackage and get a great deal on some seriously good juice this is the weekend to take care of both those desires. Have you been looking for something to do this weekend? It's going to a winetastic weekend here in San Diego and you really don't want to miss out on this opportunity to get your hands on wine-competition tried, tested and awarded vino that will put a smile on your face for many months and for some years to come.

What is the Wine and Roses: Wine & Roses is a companion event to the San Diego International Wine Competition this competition is held each April. The wines, which are awarded medals at the Competition, agree to donate a case of their award winning wine to Wine & Roses. The upcoming event is this Sunday, June 12, 2011, where everyone can enjoy a wonderful afternoon tasting delicious Wines and eating foods from some of San Diego's best restaurants. Entry into the event is $65 online and tickets can still be purchased at the door for $75, which grants you access to all the vino and snacks you could possibly enjoy while doing your part for a great cause.

The Cause: Wine & Roses continues the tradition of sending children to "summer-camp" at Camp Oliver in Descanso. How does that happen? Wonderful folks like you, who attend the Wine and Roses Tasting event this Saturday, purchasing cases of award winning wine, with all the proceeds in hand Wine and Roses supplies needy children [who otherwise would not be able to attend camp because of the cost] wishing to attend camp the opportunity to do so. This great tradition is carried out each year via the Social Service Auxiliary who began assisting the Sisters of Social Service with their work in San Diego County. If you wold like to learn more please click here.

Reserve Tasting: Now if you want to step it up a notch and like your favorite vinyl get into the deep cuts, I would recommend  Robert Whitley's Private Reserve tasting, which will be in the Versailles ballroom. I would definitely not miss this great opportunity to sample some amazing juice.

Here's the Skinny: According the director of the San Diego International Wine Competition one of the most attractive features of Wine & Roses, which is San Diego's oldest charity wine tasting, is the opportunity to purchase cases of medal-winning wine at steep discounts [my kind of event]. You'll will be able to choose from more than 400 cases of wine which have earned either a silver, gold or platinum medal at this years San Diego International Wine Competition. Now you maybe wondering where to get these gems, if I were I would make a B-line for the ground-floor courtyard of the Westgate Hotel which is where you will find all the vino-deals. Do yourself another favor, get a few cases bring some of those reusable wine carrying bags  to facilitate easy transport of your gems straight to your vehicle and by the way as always the early bird gets the worm so feel free to line up as early as possible [sale starts at 2PM] to secure the best choices at the wine-cellar of the Wine and Roses event and there's no limit to the amount you can purchase.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sicily Uncorked: D'Alessandro's 2008 Nero d'Avola

“You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself” ~ Galileo
You may have noticed that my blog has been on a bit of a hiatus of late and a big part of the reason, has to do with the final preparations for an upcoming trip to Spain.

Oh and then there's work, coupled together with a quick hiking trip to Bryce Canyon with my son. Which means, I've been a busy boy and I know poor me right, it's a tough job but someone has to do it.  


Not to mention this blog is not a paid-gig, just a hobby for the most part, but it's one that does come with some vinous perks every now and then. But, now that I'm caught up once more, I'll be working on getting a truck-load of reviews out onto the vino-super-highway in the next couple of days, thanks ever so much for anyone that may take a moment to read my musings on vitis-vinifera.

That said, it's high time to hop back in the wine-wagon, so sit back and buckle up, as we cross the pond over to Sicily. In today's review spotlight is a bottle of Nero d'Avola from my friends at D'eAlessandro's whose relatively new winery was started in 2006 can be found on the beautiful southern coast of Sicily near Agrigento.

A city with a rich history harkening back to what many historians call Greece's golden-age near the site of Akragas, known as the most beautiful city of mortals. A isle I will be visiting in just a few weeks, as I depart from Barcelona to do a little cruising, hopefully no bruising, like the lumps I got on my visit to Kolob Canyon [ouch]. Honestly, my elbow [swelled up like a black and blue melon] really paid the price for my brash actions, in attempting to get a better picture.

I know it's not a household name and many of you may be scratching your collective noggins thinking Nero who or what? Though you may not be familiar with the name, actually it's one of Italy's more noted indigenous varieties beyond the famous and more well known Nebbiolo and Sangiovese, its better known siblings in the north from Piedmont and Tuscany.

This is the type of wine, which will reward the adventurous vino-sapiens in the audience looking for something a little different, than the typical Chianti. Many wine-geeks tend to think of this wine as there go-to "pizza" wine. A fact not lost on me, as it's often a great pairing partner with many styles of pizza. But I would encourage folks to look beyond this obvious pairings [the low hanging fruit], I'd also give it a swirl at your next barbeque or the next time you have hand-beer-battered fish tacos, trust me on that one.

The Grape: Nero d'Avola is a red wine grape which has achieved much acclaim in Avola, Sicily; the name means "black from Avola." It's really recent history, [some twenty years] that this varietal has not had share the stage with other grapes as a mere bit player. Typically in northern Italy and France, Nero d'Avola was used in the past as a blending grape, for other wines which needed a boost color or structure.

However, left on its own for a solo-act, Nero d'Avola is capable of producing wine with a higher abv percentage, biting tannins and what many call a blackish color. Making for wine experience, that's mostly unapproachable in its youth. However today with the onset of modern viticulture and nouveau winemaking techniques, this wild, seemingly unpredictable grape has been tamed for the better. This Nero d' Avola I sampled, appears to be crafted in a new world style, but still has a nice bit of old-world earthiness woven into it, wonderfully so in my opinion.

Swirl, Sniff and Slurp: In the glass a warm colored core of plummy goodness filling my glass. Sticking my fat half Irish nose in the glass, I experienced dark ripe cherries, a bit of cigar and plum. After the first splash down this medium bodied wine carries a tasty mix of black cherry and blackberry-like fruit flavors that float effortlessly among the well integrated tannins, that leave my mouth with a pleasant touch of ripe fruit. The easy-going 13% abv creates warmth without being overwhelming, making for a great foodie type of wine that is as easy on the wallet and great wine to uncork for mid-week slurping.

Price, Purchase and Score: I found this same wine I reviewed at Sonoma Wine and Spirits, who's selling it for just under $20. I gave this wine a solid 87 points, what some call a "B+" on a grading scale. Well folks, that's all I got for you today, I hope you will give this wine a swirl, please let me know what you think. Until next time, sip long and prosper, cheers!

Full Disclosure: This wine was sent as a media sample for the review process.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...