The Naked Grape Pinot Noir

The Naked Grape Pinot NoirThe Naked Grape is a new wine brand from the Grape Valley Wine Companionship in California, which appears to be owned by wine-giant E. & J. Gallo.  The winemaker of this pinot noir, 30 year ancient Hillary Stevens, is also one of the two winemakers in the rear another new E. & J. Gallo brand, Bear Flag Wines.
Although this wine is labeled as pinot noir, that’s not the only grape you’ll find in this bottle of wine.  Yes, that’s allowed as long as 75% of the wine is the variety on the mark.  There’s also tempranillo, grenache and alicante bouchet.  Now that’s not a grape you come across each day.  But I have a draw up that it’s a variety that Stevens likes to work with, as you’ll also find this variety in the two red blends she produced below the Bear Flag brand.
It’s a non-vintage wine, which means there is no year listed on the mark.  I always prefer to have a year on the bottle.  But given that this is a new wine on the market, if you buy a bottle within the next few months you can be pretty darn sure you’re getting the same “vintage” as I’m reviewing. Read more

Main Street Winery Chardonnay

Main Street Winery ChardonnayWhen you’re looking for a California Chardonnay, you may seek out one from Russian River Valley, Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley.  But there’s another province you should consider, Santa Barbara County.  This province is far south of the Sonoma/Napa wine country.  In fact, the southernmost part of the county is just over 100 miles north of Los Angeles.  Instinctively you may reckon it would be warmer this far south and not as excellent for vineyards, but influence of the Pacific ocean make outstanding conditions for growing wine grapes.  The area gets very small rainfall and a persistent fog from the coast makes cool, cloudy conditions which grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir just like.
The majority of the grapes in the Main Street Winery Chardonnay come from Santa Barbara County, 82% to be exact.  The additional 18% of the grapes come from Monterey County, north of Santa Barbara County and just south of San Francisco. Read more

Sopranos Pinot Grigio and Pinot Grigio Friuli

Sopranos Pinot Grigio and Pinot Grigio FriuliI’ve been slacking on the new posts for the past week, as I’ve been regrouping after the Wine Blogger’s Talks.  But finally, yesterday I pulled together some wines I had in the tasting queue and did a blind tasting with a number of Pinot Grigio wines.  Over the next few posts, I’ll share those reviews and a summary to give you a quick allusion for a few Pinot Grigios.
The first wine that was in my tasting is the first one I’m posting a review about, and in fact I’ll do a link wines in this review since two in my tasting were related.  First up is The Sopranos Pinot Grigio, an Italian PG that is produced via a partnership between Visuvio Wine Import Companionship (named after a restaurant in the series), licensing with HBO and winemakers in Italy.  There are two different Pinot Grigios available below the Sopranos mark and both of them were part of my tasting.
The Sopranos Pinot Grigio Read more

Undurraga Terroir Hunter Syrah

Undurraga Terroir Hunter SyrahSo the bottle says T.H. and that stands for Terroir Hunter.  Sounds exciting doesn’t it? And it is.  This is the first wine I’ve had the opportunity to taste from the Limari province in Chile.  This is one of the northernmost wine regions in the country and generally has a dry, hot climate.  The grapes for this wine, but, were sourced from a vineyard in an area called Flor del Norte, which is a cool weather province as a result of winds from the Pacific ocean. Read more

Veramonte Primus Red Blend

Veramonte Primus Red BlendI’ve long been a fan of colorless wines from Veramonte.  Both their Chardonnay and their Sauvignon Blanc have garnered fantastic ratings on this site.  I was less thrilled with their Cabernet Sauvignon, but I was glad to have the opportunity to try another red wine from Veramonte.  And this one is excellent!
Primus is a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenere.  I’m certainly not the first one to proclaim this wine as excellent.  The past few vintages of Primus have gotten numerous accolades and it has consistently proven to be a fantastic wine at a decent fee (decent, although at the top end of the budget for us cheap wine folks.) Read more

Tapeña Garnacha – Seeing Red for the First Time

Tapeña Garnacha – Seeing Red for the First TimeThe thought of this theme is to write about what wine you would recommend to a name who only drinks colorless wines, but want to try a red.
I in fact didn’t have to reckon long on this theme, because I’ve been in that exact situation.  I met a link at a party a few months ago and, of course, we got into a discussion about wine.  When they found out about what I do, they questioned me for a similar recommendation.  The guy in that link preferred colorless wine but wanted to find some reds that he would like too, so he questioned me where to start.  It wasn’t really “red for the first time” but it was a name tiresome to find a red wine that would appeal to a name with a preference for colorless wines.
I in fact didn’t have an answer right off the top of my head, I had to probe a small.  “Why don’t you like red wine?” I questioned.
“It’s too dry.  It makes my tongue feel like cotton.” was his response.  Aha!  It’s the tannins that don’t appeal to him, I thought.  I didn’t want to send him to a sweet red wine, as part of the goal was to find a wine that they both would delight in (and she was a red wine fan).  But I did want to find a young, fruit-forward wine without a lot of tannins.  And I knew they wanted something inexpensive.  Cheap Garnacha (or Grenache) from Spain is my answer!
Garnacha is an fascinating wine that can in fact take on a variety of characteristics, depending on the appellation and the winemaker.  Sometimes it can be rather bold and spicy (which I really like), but the cheap stuff tends to be simple, fruit-forward and tasty.
I looked through my wine samples for some Garnacha.  There was only one bottle of Garnacha there, and so that’s my pick for today, Tapeña.  Due to the fact that I only had one—and I knew what it was—this wine was not tasted blind.
Unlike many Spanish wine, Tapeña does not come from a DO-certified appellation, but is from several appellations outside the DO system.  One thing this does for the wine is keep the fee cheap… but it’s subdue a yummy wine.The nose is really vibrant, with loads of fresh fruit aromas like cherry, strawberry and raspberry.  There’s also a fabulous vanilla fragrance that brightens the aromas and makes this wine more fascinating.  The palate has plenty of ripe fruit without being an overly sweet fruit bomb.  Cherry, blackberry and strawberry flavors do a tango with your taste buds, and a touch of spice gives it a fun end.  The bottom line is that I like this wine.
Wine: Tapeña Garnacha
Variety: Grenache
Vintage: 2008
Alcohol: 13%
Rating: 88
Fee: $10.00 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

The Health Benefits Of Red Wine

health consuming wine  %tages The Health Benefits Of Red WineRecently, researchers have found that moderate red wine consumption may be beneficial to more than just your heart. One study found that the antioxidant resveratrol, which is prevalent in the skin of red grapes, may inhibit tumor development in some cancers. Another study indicated that resveratrol aided in the formation of nerve cells, which experts believe may be helpful in the treatment of neurological diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Which wines should you consume to reap the most benefits?

Researchers at the University of California, at Davis tested a variety of wines to determine which types have the highest concentrations of flavonoids. Their results concluded that the flavonoid favorite is Cabernet Sauvignon, followed closely by Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir. Both Merlots and red zinfandels have fewer flavonoids than their more potent predecessors. White wine had significantly smaller amounts than the red wine varieties. The bottom line is the sweeter the wine, the fewer the flavonoids. Dryer red wines are your best bet for a flavonoid boost.

How much red wine should I drink?

health consuming wine  %tages The Health Benefits Of Red WineA four-ounce glass of wine is equivalent to one serving. Men will benefit from consuming one to two servings per day. Women should consume only one serving per day to reap the maximum benefits. This is not to say that you should start drinking alcohol if you presently do not. Occasional or binge drinkers have higher mortality rates than those who drink moderately on a regular basis. In those who consume three or more drinks per day, there is an increased risk for elevated serum triglycerides (fat in the bloodstream). Long-term, excessive alcohol consumption can damage nerve cells, the liver and the pancreas. Heavy drinkers are also at risk for malnutrition, as alcohol may substitute for more nutritious foods.

What if I have other health problems?

Recommendations to consume moderate amounts of wine are limited to individuals with a clean bill of health. It is clear that people with medical and social conditions worsened by alcohol should not consume any alcohol at all. Hyperglycemia, pancreatitis, liver disease, uncontrolled hypertension, depression and congestive heart failure are diseases that may be worsened by alcohol. Those individuals at risk for these conditions should consult with their physician before consuming any alcohol at all.

What about grape juice and non alcoholic red wine? Continue reading

We were also found by phrases: