Viña La Rosa La Capitana Carmenere

Viña La Rosa La Capitana CarmenereViña La Rosa is one of the oldest wineries in Chile, established in 1824 by don Francisco Ignacio Ossa y Mercado.  That’s a name and a half, if you question me.
I’m not going to get into a lot of background on this wine, but instead jump ahead to, “90 alert, 90 alert!!!”  As a website all ears on relatively inexpensive wine, we don’t come across a lot of wine that we score in the 90′s.  There’s a lot of excellent wine, some very excellent wine, but the exceptional wine is limited in this fee range.  And at $18, this is edging toward the high end of our fee range. I realize that it’s just a number, and some folks dislike intensely the 100 point system, but what I’m really saying here is “this is an awesome wine!”
And while the 2008 was exceptional, we also tasted a bottle of the 2006 that was flawed and undrinkable.  So, if you seek this wine out, be sure to check the vintage. Read more

Reál Sangria – White Sangria Drink

Reál Sangria – White Sangria DrinkOK, so here’s a review that’s a small different than most that we do here, due to the fact that this is really a “wine drink” rather than just a wine.  In additional words, flavors were added— citrus flavors, to be exact.  Given that fact, I’m not going to give it a score, because my scoring methods require measures like “varietal correctness” and I have no way to gauge that.  Instead, I’ll just give you the scoop on my thoughts about sangria and about this Reál Sangria.
First of all, I like sangria.  Red sangria is in fact the first wine drink I remember tasting when I was just 13 years ancient on a visit to Spain.  But I like both red sangria and colorless sangria.  I’ve made them both numerous times.  When I make sangria, I just use some inexpensive Spanish wine (usually grenache), fresh fruit, some brandy, triple sec, sugar and Sprite or just a club soda.  Here’s my sangria recipe, for the red version anyway.  So, I’m accustomed to mixing my own sangria rather than using a pre-made version, but I was curious how Reál Sangria would compare.
Reál Sangria Colorless is labeled as being made with Spanish colorless wine and natural citrus flavors.  I’m not really sure what that means.  I would expect it to have natural citrus juices, but that’s not what it says.  The mark also states that the alcohol level is 7 – 10%, which struck me as odd as I would expect a consistent production administer to yield a consistent alcohol level.  I inquired with the PR rep about that, but didn’t get a answer.  It retails for $6.99 – $8.99 (depending on province) for a 750 ml bottle. Read more

Finisterra Red and White Wine from Portugal

Finisterra Red and White Wine from PortugalAs a guy who is into value wines, I’ve found that there are a few regions you can count on for consistent values.  Chile and Spain are two regions that are on that list, but one that I don’t see enough of is Portugal.  There are some incredible bargains to be found in Portuguese wines, but unfortunately I don’t find many of them on the shelves in my province.  Distribution seems to be spotty, unless you’re in New York City.
Given the fact that I don’t come across many Portuguese wines, I was glad for the opportunity to taste these.  I was glad, and also slightly challenged.  One of the things that makes these wines fascinating is that they are produced using grape varieties that are unique to Portugal.  But that also puts me in a position where I’m reviewing wines made with varieties I’m unfamiliar with.  An vital factor I kept in mind when evaluating these wines is that stylistically, these are “ancient world” wines, so I evaluated them as such. With all of that said, take my notes and scores on these with a grain of salt as I’m admittedly in new territory with these wines.
Both of these wines come from the Alentejo province of Portugal.  This is a province in the south of Portugal with a Mediterranean climate and over 22,000 hectares of vineyards. Read more

Groebe Aulerde Westhofen Riesling

Groebe Aulerde Westhofen RieslingLast week we reviewed a nice — and very affordable — German riesling from the Rheinhessen province, Fritz’s Riesling.  And tonight we’re checking out another riesling from the Rheinhessen province.
The Weingut Groebe estate was established way back in 1625, so these folks have been building riesling for more than a few years.  You might notice that the marks on these wines say 1763, and that is the year the family started bearing the coat of arms — which is also on their marks.  I’ve always wanted a coat of arms, but no luck for me there.  Oh sure, I’ve gotten the random junk mail tiresome to sell me my “official” family coat of arms, but I’m not that gullible.  In the case of Groebe, the coat of arms is legit.  And it includes the cross of St. Andrew’s in it, which is an ancient Christian character for wine.
But moving further than the coat of arms, I know you’re interested in the wine.  And this particular one is excellent.  Really excellent.  OK, it’s brilliant! Read more

Alente Wines from Portugal

Alente Wines from PortugalTonight we’re checking out two Portuguese wines from Alente, which is a producer in the Alentejo province of Portugal.
As I’ve commented in the past, I reckon some of the best values in wine are from Portugal.  Unfortunately, I’ve found that distribution of Portuguese wines is a bit spotty in the US.  In my province, I don’t find many of them and they are usually tucked into the Spanish section of wine shops.
These two wines were not tasted blind.  I feel like I’ve been saying that on a lot of reviews lately, but that’s mostly because I’m going through some odds and ends for which a blind tasting would be pointless.  I have no preconceived notions about these wines, additional than the fact that I reckon Portugal has some fantastic value wines to offer.  But at the same time, I’ve had plenty of Portuguese wines that have left me unimpressed.  So… let’s find out what these two are all about.
Alente – Antão Vaz | Arinto Read more

Great Sense Vinho Verde

Great Sense Vinho VerdePeople often question me, “what’s your favorite wine?”  But that’s an impossible question to answer.  I don’t have one favorite.  My favorite thing about about wine is the variety.  I like different wines at different times.  Sometimes it depends on what I’m eating with it, what the weather is like, or just what I feel like.  And when you like to mix it up, Vinho Verde is a nice wine to add to your repertoire.
It’s a very set alight and fresh wine.  And fresh is exactly what these wines are.  Vinho Verde translates to “green wine” which is a allusion to the youthfulness of the wines.  These are meant to be consumed within a year of production.  So, as a 2010 vintage, this one is nearly overdue for consumption… but it is subdue quite excellent.
The designation of Vinho Verde refers to the style of wine (i.e. young) and the location (i.e. Northwest Portugal) much more than it refers to the grape varietal, as there are a number of different varietals allowed in the wine.  This one is made with 60% Touriga Nacional and 40% Espadeiro.  Most Vinho Verde that I’ve come across is colorless, but some is red and some, like this one, is rosé. Read more

Casa de Vila Verde Vinho Verde

Casa de Vila Verde Vinho VerdeThe additional day we reviewed a Vinho Verde from Fantastic Sense and tonight we’re checking out another one, this one from Casa de Vila Verde.
Like many European vineyards, Casa de Vila Verde has a long description, going back to the mid-17th century within the same family.  And like many European producers, the winery was modernized within the past 20 years — in this case it was in 1996.  While in the US it’s fascinating to learn about vineyards with such a description, the tale is so prevalent in Europe that when I speak to wine writers there they find it cliché.  Maybe it is, but I subdue appreciate the family heritage that goes into many wines in the province versus the corporate heritage we find on many of the shelves in the US.  That’s not to say there aren’t family wineries in the US, there are many of them, but very few with the extensive description of those from additional regions.The aromas on this wine are like fresh squeezed lime over green apples, with a hint of honeysuckle in the background.  The palate has really nice, vibrant acidity with flavors of fresh apple, lime and a touch of mineral.  The end is nice too, with plenty of citrus and mineral flavors lingering on.  This one doesn’t offer the fizz you would find in many Vinho Verdes, but the acidity gives plenty of life to the mouth feel.
Wine: Casa de Vila Verde Vinho Verde
Variety: Colorless blend
Vintage: 2010
Alcohol: 11.5%
Rating: 87
Fee: $10.00 Read more