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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wine of the Week: 2009 Banfi Belnero Proprietor's Reserve

Time for another wine of the week, this time in the spot-light is the 2009 Banfi's Belnero Proprietor's Reserve, which was sent for the wine review process [aka, a sample]. I feel bad for all my fellow vino-sapiens on the East Coast, whose last thought about right now, is uncorking a rich bottle of red wine like this one, triple digit heat plus high humidity is no picnic, you have my apologies in advance, as this review won't be much help in finding something to help you cool off.

But for all you folks reading this; enjoying the rather cool, calm and relaxed summer weather here on the West Coast, it's time to prepare your favorite Italian cuisine, uncork a few bottles of this extremely well made and mouth-watering Tuscan masterpiece, enjoy. Don't miss this folks, this could be the Tuscan wine-experience you've been waiting for, it will wow you at every twist and turn.

While it's appealing and approachable right away from the bottle, I'd recommend some decanter time. In the glass a brilliant, but dark ruby colored core awaits your first eye-contact and invites slurping with reckless abandon, oh-my. On the nose you’ll find plenty of dark, rich ripe plum, dark cherry, mocha and fun floral aromas to entice the first slurp. After the first splash down, a boat load dark and red fruits, licorice, a pluck of sweet tobacco in the background, stay with you from the mid-palate to the deep and long lasting finish.

This wine has bright acidity, making it a food pairing champion, this wine is chameleon enough to blend with just about anything you could throw at it, so don't be afraid to experiment and explore many different options. This folks is how you do it, classic Toscana style and elegance, dressed to impress from the moment it's uncorked. Buy this one by the case and never look back, it can cost anywhere from $30 to $40 per bottle, but in my opinion it's well worth the price of admission.

Banfi says; this wine is almost exclusively a Sangiovese blend, which was fermented in their patented temperature controlled oak barrels, aged for 14 months before being nitrogen bottled unfiltered in an effort to minimize sulfites. The grapes were harvested from their estate vineyards, in the southern hills of Montalcino. However you slice, this is a wonderfully well made wine, which I know will put a smile on any vino-sapiens face, save any of the fussy-pants set who has built-in disdain for any wine over 13% abv.

Looking for pairing recommendations? Well as I mentioned above briefly I paired this wine with Manicotti; a recipe I found online that uses crepes, a basic marinara sauce and three different cheeses. If you like to follow the recipe I used to create my own so-call masterpiece, click on this link and enjoy.

I really love the label-art as well, just fantastic. So what are you waiting for, get out there and order some, because this tasty 2009 Belnero Proprietors Reserve; is ready to be uncorked, commanding a drink often and drink now recommendation. I’m giving this wine a score of 91 points. Until next time folks, sip long and prosper cheers!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cheese and Wine Pairing Uncorked: Warming Up with Aged Gouda


Another timely article written by guest-contributor Sara Kahn; who found she had an undying passion for gourmet cheese. Sara Kahn found shopping for cheese to be overwhelming, time consuming and even down-right confusing.

She thought there had to be better ways to enjoy the cheese she so dearly loved and wanted find a simple way to share that passion with others.

So she established The Cheese Ambassador to offer a simple, yet very convenient way to select and serve the world’s finest cheeses from just about any where. She did so by providing the perfect combination of exquisite cheeses along with a comprehensive cheese course guide, where clients could learn how to better enjoy gourmet cheese for themselves, which sounds like deliciously enriching experience. Please follow her on twitter @CheeseSpot or connect with her on Facebook and be sure to "like" her page.


It was in January, just a few weeks before the Super Bowl, we had plans to hang with family and have a few friends over the weekend. But instead of an elaborate spread and fancy cocktails, we settled in with simple yet hearty fare and bottles of red.

Being The Cheese Ambassador, our guests have come to expect the evening to include a sampling of gourmet cheese. We started the meal with a chunk of 4 year old Gouda and challenged the gang to a mission they were all too happy to accept - determine the best wine match. Aaah, Gouda. A traditional cheese that has been reinterpreted the world over. Gouda is traditionally a cow’s milk cheese from Holland, but you can now find it made from goat, sheep and cows from an international collection of dairymen.

The Dutch pronunciation of Gouda is “how-duh” with the “how” tickling the back of your throat. A special type of Gouda is called Boerenkaas. “Boeren” meaning “farm” and “kaas” meaning “cheese”. It’s a simple name for a complex cheese. This is not your ordinary grocery store Gouda enveloped in red wax. Boerenkaas is a farmstead cheese made with unpasteurized cow’s milk from a single farm. Deep burnt-gold in color Boerenkaas becomes rock hard and concentrates in flavor as it ages. Break off a chunk and notice the butterscotch aroma. The taste is intense and piquant. Its caramel and nutty flavors are accented by the salty, crunchy protein crystals (a hallmark of aged cheeses) that melt in your mouth.

Anytime Wine & Cheese Pairing: This cheese packs a punch and can stand up to full-bodied red wines. We paired the Boerenkaas with two New World, high-alcohol wines – a Merlot from Sonoma and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina. The salty and nutty flavors of the cheese nicely contrasted with the jammy, berry flavors of the Merlot while the piquancy of the cheese matched the bittersweet chocolate notes of the Cabernet Sauvignon. The group was split on selecting the winning match. But that’s the beauty of cheese and wine pairings – there is no right or wrong answers. It’s all about personal taste, but at the same time some cheeses do naturally pair better with certain styles of wine.

Recommended Wine: I would recommend the Hess Collection Cabernet, Allomi Vineyard 2009, as a great wine to that can stand up to a cheese of this type.

Price and ABV: A very even keeled 14.5% just waits to be uncorked, a well made wine, I'd describe as refined elegance for a paupers price, considering the SRP is a mere $24.00 do your homework and you could get it for under $20.

The Blend: Okay so you may be wondering what's in the blend, here you go 86% Cabernet Sauvignon 11% Petite Sirah 3% Petit Verdot; which spent 18 Months in 30% New American Oak

Tasting notes: In the glass color showed dark cherry and crimson. On the palate the gentle spice in the nose and front palate followed by a long tri-berry cobbler mouth feel with good acidity, a nice structure; with persistently pleasant finish. It’s what I’d call a very food friendly wine, which is immediately approachable after uncorking and there's no real need to decant.

Pairing Suggestion: I'm thinking BBQ roasted chicken, grilled pork, caramelized onions, Baby Back Ribs, sautéed greens, roasted vegetables and aged Jack or a aged Gouda will enhance the fruit flavors in this wine.

What's the Score: Hey a point seeker here’s my score if you’re interested: I scored this wine 89 points. Then taking into account this wines QPR score it boost this wines overall score to 91 points.

Recommendations: Sara was kind enough to send a sample of some of the cheese she offers at The Cheese Ambassador. Whoa and wow were the words I used to describe the experience.

Let me tell you I was really impressed by the taste, freshness and overall quality of this cheese. Their cheese comes packaged very smartly so you don't have any spoilage issues or concerns. So get online and check out all the wonderful cheese products on her site and put in your order.

The wine you see above can be purchased at a number of places either online from the Hess Collection or at your favorite wine store. It's a widely distributed, but is an absolute must to have with this pairing or just anytime you’d like a very dependable, great tasting, Tuesday evening style of Cabernet ready to puts a smile on your face. Until next time, sip long and prosper cheers everyone!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Travel Tuesday: The Jet-Bag Uncorked


"The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity." - Walt Whitman

You’ve just traveled to an amazing wine destination, scored a couple great bottles but, uggh how do you get those treasures home in the checked luggage without fear of bottle breaking in transport and potentially ruining the other content inside.

We all know these days that traveling with wine or other libations can be a tricky prospect at best. We’ve all experienced the heightened and increasingly tightened security restrictions, all of which means that killer bottle of Bordeaux that you just had to have, will end up in the cargo hold of that dream-liner you may be flying back in.

So the question is; how do you ensure that your wine will arrive safely when your suitcase is thrown on to baggage-claim belts with reckless abandon; after all we know these dedicated airline employees are in a hurry to get your bags returned to you quickly as possible. If you find yourself looking for a quick and handy solution to protect your precious cargo, while at the same time insuring that your clothes won't be getting the wine tye-dye treatment if the hastily clothes wrapped bottle doesn't survive the journey.

If so, I have answer for you, it comes in the form of the light-weight, zip-locked, absorbency-lined Jet-Bag, a product I received as a sample and one I used on many of my own trips to wine-country. It really works well; I like the diaper-like absorbent material that lines the inside of the bag, which as I tested does provide adequate protection from leaks.

The only down-side; I could find is that Champagne bottles are a no-go for this product, their bottoms are just too wide for this standard Bordeaux shaped bag. I did attempt to force one, it just ripped the bag and prevented the zipper to be secured. But that was the only bottle style in my collection, that I could not fit into the bag. Other than that, I highly recommend this product to you, they sell on Amazon, just $15 for three. Until next time folks, sip long and prosper cheers!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wine Wednesday Uncorked: 2008 Benessere Estate Sangiovese

Well it's another day here in paradise [aka, San Diego], yep the forecast for today, sunny afternoon, followed by late evening clouds and coolness. Not such a bad gig really, unless you live on the coast in May and June in San Diego, the marine layer hangs about most of day obstructing all those wonderful views. But if you live inland like I do, it's quite the wonderful-weather pattern.

I entitled this post Wine Wednesday, because that is when I popped the cork on this bad-boy, I was busy cooking in the kitchen, preparing one of my favorite Italian dishes, called Manicotti.

I know many folks were involved on the Wine Chat channel on twitter, having a grand old time discussing the myriad intricacies of Burgundy, with many lamenting the possibility of producers who may be swayed to turn to the dark-side of the force; read that New World Style [oh-my]. No offense to my many wonderful friends there, but I had about a spoonful of interest in the topic, as for why, well at the moment the "why" is quite irrelevant.

Now lets get back to the topic at hand, a wonderful New World style of Sangiovese which the fetching Mrs. Cuvee picked out on her own. She found this gem, while hanging-out with friends in the Napa Valley, a gurls weekend don't you know. Her selections show up via the FedEx truck on Wine Wednesday, I never normally do this but I was eager to taste the wine, she had chosen to bring home. I thought it was a bit funny she chose a Sangiovese to take home from a winery in the Napa Valley. I especially say that, considering the fact that her and I both are huge fans of Italian produced wines and frankly everything else pales in comparison.

Now that said, the wine seemed a bit frazzled when it arrived, so I socked it way in our rather cool pantry upside down in one of the many cardboard boxes that line the floor. As you can see I've spared no expense, putting together a secondary storage facility in my pantry. Fast forward many hours later and I'm uncorking a wine that had just arrived that same day, something I typically advise that you shouldn't do. But shunning my own so-called sage advice, I uncorked the bottle with reckless abandon [oh-my]. No I didn't even decant it, just straight away from the bottle, to my open waiting glass, the anticipation had gotten the better of me, I took a fat-throaty "big-gulp" kind of slurp and wow I was impressed this is some damn fine juice. Well, well Mrs. Cuvee you did indeed choose well, this wine is very polished, like the shine on my "jump-boots" back in the day and oh don't ask what "day" or I'll drone on and on.

So after my first big-gulp, I took the time to smell the roses, diving head long into glass, wow and whoa together, fresh summer cherries kissing sweet cherries lying quietly inside a chocolate covered shell, dusted with espresso and a strong shot of vanilla.

On the second big slurp, this wine is bright with red fruit and chocolate, layered black cherry plays a drum solo and a bit of black fruit hit my mid-palate like flavor-wave. The acids are bright and refreshing, balancing the abundant fruit nicely. The oak influenced vanilla notes show up on the finish and meld perfectly with the strong flavor of sweet milk chocolate-covered cherries, amid polished tannins. This is the style of wine, bringing all this components together to make this wine an easy food pairing champion and made in a drink now and drink often style. This wine sells for $28 at the winery; I gave it a score of 90 points and highly recommend you grab a few for yourself. Until next time folks sip long and prosper cheers!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kunde Taste Live Uncorked: 2011 Sonoma Valley Magnolia Lane Sauvignon Blanc



"With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice." ~ Oprah Winfrey

A funny thing happened on the way to the Kunde Taste Live; I stumbled over a Sauvignon Blanc that I want to put in the review spotlight. So today I'm recommending a Sauvignon-Blanc to each and every one of you. Oddly this is not something I thought I would be doing anytime soon; because to me most of these wines are predictably oh-so similar, loads of grapefruit, cut grass [freshly mowed] high-pitched citrus tone, uber enamel eroding high acid and other aggressive off-putting flavors. I've tasted far to many of those styles in the past and frankly I'm not impressed.

So yes, I've been mocking the traditional style of Sauvignon Blanc for the longest time, save a well made Sancerre, but for the most part it's safe to say, I'm not a fan. I do so, to the disdain of many of my colleagues who dismiss my mockery as sheer folly. Be that as it may, in my not so humble opinion Sauvignon Blanc's high acid, aggressive grassiness and grapefruit aromas are great for cleaning the lint out of my stems and decanter before I pour a nice Cabernet Sauvignon or at other times its wonderful role in many recipes. Oh, speaking of Cabernet Sauvignon, we do at least have to recognize the fact that Sauvignon Blanc, along with Cabernet Franc; did at least get one thing right, helping to birth the wildly popular, stand up wine, everyone has come to know and love Cabernet Sauvignon.

I know many of you love your Kim Crawford NZ style of Sauvignon Blanc and others, I say fine, drink it till your heart is content. Please don't let me attempt to dissuade you from your favorite wine; instead look at my criticism of the tried and true traditional style of Sauvignon Blanc, as an opportunity to see what just a pinch of Semillon [in this case late harvest] can do to alter this critic's opinion of Sauvignon Blanc. Why this method or style of wine isn't attempted more often is beyond me, I mean c'mon my mother always told me, "Billy, you can catch more bees with honey, than you can with vinegar" great point mom. A point that I hope more producers will come to understand more fully. In fact I would take it to the next level, I'd say hey everyone producing the “traditional” style of Sauvignon Blanc, "do you want to take a break from the fresh-cut lawn and the fresh squeezed grapefruit flavors, if so pick yourself up a bottle of the 2011 Magnolia Lane and uncork a whole new world of possibilities [new found customer base].

Hey Wine Bar owners, do you want to make a small fortune selling wines by the glass, if so the Kunde 2011 Magnolia Lane Sauvignon Blanc is made to order. One it comes in a fast server screw cap, two this wine is amendable to gas and three the style of this wine is very approachable on its own and will pair easily with a host of entrees or appetizers. Fourth, the price point is just stupid-good, don’t pass it up. You’ll will have a hard time keeping this wine in stock, don’t believe me, give it a swirl for yourself; it will make a believer out of you, as it has me. If I was selling this wine into a restaurants and or bars, I could unload the entire case count in just a week.

Okay, in case you’re wondering what I’m making all the fuss about; it’s about the fact that it's rare for a Sauvignon Blanc, to ever make me want to drink the entire bottle. Yes, I saved the bottle in my refrigerator, slowly sipping on it night after night and it made me say “wow” every time [no easy task]. What does it mean, when I say it made me say, “wow” it means after having sipped and slurped my way through more Sauvignon Blanc than I thought was humanly possible, that this vino-sapien has finally come across one I could recommend, with an exclamation point.

Here’s what I found so appealing about this wine, it’s approachable right away, dressed to impress, no fuss, no muss, just put a bit of a chill on it and wow you have a masterpiece of lingering Sauvignon Blanc decadence. All the rough edges have been gently sanded down via the small 5% of the wine, which was fermented and aged in neutral French Oak. The "piste de résistance" was the addition of just 1% barrel fermented [late-harvest] Semillon.

Pouring myself a glass, wow a bright beam of straw in the core, this wine just screams [okay, maybe just shouts] "summer" is nearly here. Giving the wine a good swirl or two, the aromas had me thinking about Alice Cooper belting out, "schools out for summer". As a waft of ripe fruits; apples, honey and passion-fruit, with a splash of citrus, with a pinch of toast like a freight train. After the first splash down, I found a complex, yet creamy palate of tropical fruit flavors, apple slices, with just a squeeze of mango-honey zest framed in mouth-watering acidity which finishes vibrant and clean.

So much flavor for so little money [SRP $17]. Thus my score for this wine is 90 points. A real block buster of finesse and charm. This wine definitely gets my highly coveted, "drink now and drink often recommendation". They do appear to have plenty of it in stock at the moment, but with summer approaching I imagine it will fly out the door quickly, don't hesitate.

Folks honestly do yourselves a big favor, get after this wine, you’ll never look at Sauvignon Blanc the same way again, because this folks is how you attract more bees, you just need a spot of honey. That spot of honey in this case is Semillon; a great grape, that is fun to say and even better to drink, when it’s paired with its best friend in the whole-wide grape world, which is Sauvignon Blanc. Until next time sip long and prosper cheers!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wine of the Week: 2009 Hess Allomi Petite Sirah

The longer you spend working on something – loving it into being, almost – the more you get attached. It's silly, but you do hope they go to good homes. ~ Anne Desmet

Time for another Wine Wednesday wine of the week and shining brightly in the spot-light is the Hess Allomi Petite Sirah. I've really become a big fan of Petite Sirah of late, I've started filling up my cellar with them, buying as many as four at a time, in some cases.

I love the way it tattoos my tongue with wonderful, rich dark, ripe blackberry flavors. To me this is a wine-lovers wine, it's big and burley, an inky gob of goodness, just waiting to be uncorked.

I'd recommend decanting just an hour or so to open up all those wonderful aromatics, just waiting to be unleashed. I got some wonderful herbal and black pepper overtones, with vivid ripe dark plums and blackberries; I'd love to hear what you think?

If you've never experienced this wonderful grape on its own, do yourself a favor order a bottle of this wine from the Hess Collection to see what I'm talking about. Because once you have had a PS, it's so hard to stop going back to that well. By the way the only way you can get this bottle is either by walking in for a tasting experience or ordering it online. This wine sells for $36, if you join their club of course you'll get a discount, but honestly this wine is well worth the price of admission. By the way score hunters, I gave this wine 91 points, it's excellent.

So many times Petire Sirah is used merely as a blending grape, because it gives added color, depth and a rounder mouth feel to finished wines that need a flavor boost. So when a winery thinks highly enough of that blending grape, to bottle it on its own, then I take notice, so should you. The Hess Collection Petit Sirah fruit is obtained from their Allomi vineyard, which has a nice bit of elevation, ranging altitude of 770 - 950 feet above the Napa Valley floor.

This wine is aged for 20 months in 100% [used] French Oak, in my opinion, helping the fruit and soil express itself so much better. I get a little bit of chalk in the background, along with crumbled graham cracker crust, like you find at the bottom of cheese-cake topped with ripe-plum and blackberry compote adorned with fresh blueberries.

I encountered this wine while visiting with my friends at the Hess Collection just a few weeks ago, they will seem a little more off the beaten path, as their winery lies near the bottom of Mont La Salle. But it's easily found off Highway 29 just take Redwood Road and follow the signs. If you like art, think of yourself as an artist or you just appreciate different types and styles of artwork. The Hess Collection has something for everyone, very unique pieces and some very unexpected.

I'd recommend a tour, as my first time through the gallery had me scratching my head a bit. They just added another piece to the exhibit, but it was still under wraps while I was there with my son and the fetching Mrs. Cuvee. Speaking of tours, they offer a few different options which do require a reservation, we took the Cheese and Wine pairing tour, it was fantastic, not only are wines fantastic, but the pairings chosen by Chef Chad Hendrickson were excellent.



The Hess Collection as it known today; was founded in 1978 by Donald Hess, a Swiss entrepreneur, a leader in sustainable and organic practices before it was “hip” and who purchased vineyards on Mount Veeder known for producing famous Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. They have an interestingly simple, yet straight forward philosophy in regards to sustainable practices; “Nurture the land; return what you take.” I like that common sense approach. Remember that not only do they have a great collection of art in the gallery, it's also in nearly every bottle of wine I tasted, save the Savignon Blanc [overly aggressive grassiness] but it did pair nicely with the cheese. Until next time folks, I hope you continue to sip long and prosper cheers!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Taste of Provence: Balletto 2011 RRV Rose' of Pinot Noir

A matter of perspective; “Sometimes I can't tell if you're teaching someone how to dance or just really inefficiently learning how to count” ~ Elan Gale

Whenever I dine-out, I typically bring a bottle of my own wine from home or something I've just scored on a jaunt through wine country, like my last trip to Napa and Sonoma. Most restaurants have a policy of waiving "corkage" if you order a bottle from the menu. In those situations; I typically go for rosé, a wine which typically goes fantastically well with appetizers.

When I have a choice; I like to drink rosé produced from Navarra, California Pinot Noir or a Côtes de Provence style. In this case, ordering the Balletto 2011 Rose' I was able to get the latter two in one bottle [two-fer].  

The wine we ordered was not chilled, we were then offered an opportunity to taste an alternative [Saintsbury], they serve by the glass, wow Jolly Rancher watermelon flavor, more reminiscent of a cheap Sutter Home white-zin. So we opted for a bucket to put a chill on the Balletto Rose' of Pinot Noir. From the moment I saw this wine in the bottle to the very first slurp, this wine gave a nice tip of the cap to Provence.
I was pumped for the experience and this wine delivered it in spades. When I commented via twitter about the style of the wine and suave sophistication of this very tasty Rose', his reply came back.

Provence is certainly the inspiration & goal every year.” ~ Anthony Beckman Winemaker
 
I encountered this wine while dining-out in Santa Rosa, at a delightful place called Petite Syrah, just a few exits down the road from Windsor. I thought to myself, 'wow what a great name for a restaurant". But I'd recommend ordering appetizers before dinner comes out of the exposed kitchen as wonderfully prepared and wonderfully executed entrees are a bit on the "petite" side of the equation. The food was delicious and the service was fantastic, but c'mon I would have given up to half of my kingdom for a baguette [I know, what was I thinking, right?]. Sorry to say a small plate of sweet potato chips really didn't cut it for three people, good thing we had a ordered a few appetizers to tame the hunger pangs, before the main event.

This may sound a bit over-stated, but that has never stopped me before, so here it goes. In my experience; it would seem that the RRV has become a mecca for delicious and delicate styles of rose wines that shout Rosé de Provence. In the glass this brilliant orange-hued with shades of pink color glowed softly in our glasses.

This lively wine comes from a careful touch of skin contact from Pinot Noir; small quantities of free run juice really [no press in sight]. On the nose, plenty of vibrant rose petals, dried strawberry and a kiss of meaty summer peach. The palate bites at ripe strawberries, kisses your mouth with tangy-citrus, wet-stone and lemongrass. I found this wine well balanced, piped with bright acidity. If you’re looking for pairing suggestions, this rich enough to pair up with salmon or even duck, yet light enough to handle a plate of fresh mussels.

 At the time of writing, this wine is listed as the one of "current" releases. It sells for $18 and is available for purchase for the moment. I gave this wine a solid 92 points and highly recommend it to you. But I wouldn't hesitate too long, as this solid summer sipper will disappear faster than a cool summer breeze. I was taking a look through their website and was "wowed" by their other selections, so sad I missed out on the opportunity to sample their other wines, looks like their slaying the point’s monster quite nicely. I'll definitely have to stop-by on my next visit. Until next folks, continue to sip long and prosper cheers!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Greek Wines Uncorked: 2008 Skouras St George Nemea


We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~ T. S. Eliot

As I have newly begun to assert; I'm an explorer when it comes to wine and spirits, travel, tourism and just about anything associated with the wine-biz. But I am also a devout skeptic of new things, which seem like a flash in the pan, here today and gone tomorrow. Take for example the advent and demise of Groovy Grüner Velt-LEEN-er. Is that a contrary position? Perhaps, but I do embrace both sides of that coin thoroughly or at least I like to think so.

Regarding the pursuit of exploration and discovery; Eric Asimov writes in The New York Times, "I know: it’s all Greek. That’s what is so exciting. Greece offers a fascinating extension of the  spectrum of world reds. These wines promise adventure. The payoff is not merely the pleasure of discovery, but the affirmation that even jaded palates can find something new."

To further strengthen my argument for exploration and Greek wine specifically, in Forbes, Katie Kelly Bell notes "Greek wine does appear to have it all—history, climate and uniqueness. Greek wines are some of the world’s most elegant and interesting. Any wine lover should take a chance on stumbling over a word or two for the delicious rewards in Greek wine."

If you thought you knew what Greek wine was all about and you're possibly making a face because perhaps you're thinking of those pine-resin like wines you may have experienced in the past. Honestly, you could not be more wrong, because I'm pretty sure this wine and many other Greeks wines are ready to "surprise" and delight you at every turn on the road to discovery. Perhaps you'll find a new favorite like I did last evening.

2008 Skouras, St. George, Nemea: Fermented and macerated in stainless steel vats, aged in used French barriques for 12 months and 6 months in bottle. That means this wine is far more about the fruit and the barrel is just a faint memory. This wine had all the characteristics of many of  my favorite light bodied Pinot Noir styles; plush seductive baking spices danced on my tongue, strawberry and cranberry type flavors danced on the table, polished tannins and balanced acidity put a bow on the package. I gave this wine a score of 89 points and highly recommend you giving this very food-friendly wine a swirl sometime soon.

This wine is produced from 100% Agiorgitiko [St. George for short] and also popularly known as the "blood of Hercules". So do you want to drink a great Pinot Noir style of wine, without the Pinot Noir price-tag, than give this wine a swirl, it sells for a mere $14 most places, a nice everyday wine at this price point. Until next time folks, sip long and prosper cheers!
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