Rivata Prosecco

  • Producer: Rivata
  • Location: Veneto,Italy
  • Year: No Vintage
  • Type: Bubbly – white
  • Price estimate: $11 (Total Wine)
  • Tasting notes:  Very pale straw in color with fine bubbles. Notes of apple on the nose.  Taste is apple, pear and white peach. Some white grape and almond with a nice effervescence. Clean, crisp and dry.
  • Conclusions: I love Prosecco and this one is no exception. Easy to drink with a moderate alcohol content, it’s pretty perfect with our cheese box this month and a little dessert. Would probably work well just for a drink too because you should always drink bubbly just because.
  • Notes: After New Year’s I wanted some bubbly just to have on hand. Every now and then I want sparkling wine just because I like it and it is fun to drink. So, we stopped by Total Wine and picked up a bottle to have on hand, and it worked out rather well. I may need to get some more since at $11 it is about the cheapest wine I drink.

 

Wine Highlights

There are times when we open a bottle of wine and I either forget to take notes, forget to take pictures or both. Some of these wines are really good and I make a mental note, and others are just okay or not to my taste (one or two have been downright bad) so I don’t think to go back the next day (generally when we have the wine again) and get the right information to post about the wine.

IMG_20181123_175241For example, just after Thanksgiving we had some friends over and we did a mini blind tasting of Sauvignon Blancs. To be fair, it was three Sauvignon Blancs and one Garnatxa Blanca. I uncorked and bagged the bottles and Bob poured so none of us knew what we were tasting. We decided to keep it simple – what did we taste, what did we like and could we identify the non Sauvignon Blanc. The results … none of us correctly identified the Garnatxa. None of us liked one of the Sauvignon Blancs (a Chilean wine that really just tasted like pine resin to Bob and was just plain bitter for me), Bob was gaga over the Bedrock and John and I loved the Longboard. It was nice to know that at the end of the day, two wines we really love are the ones we went to when we didn’t know what they were.

This was the year of rose for us. We found several that we loved (Ode to Lulu Rose, I’m looking at you) and maybe one or two that we made a note to skip next time we saw it. On the whole, it was a really great year for rose wine for us and something that we are drinking through the winter and into spring this year.

I’m still a fan of red wine. Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Zweigelt, Pinotage, and almost any Italian red and I’m in. This year we saw more restrained wines – Zinfandels that normally have 14%+ alcohol were in the 13% range, which doesn’t seem like a big difference, but it can be. I actually started looking for wines with lower alcohol content so I could really enjoy the wine, especially that second glass, without feeling like I’ve had a ton to drink. I’m hoping the trend of good, moderate alcohol, red wine continues.

Bob and I are finally getting to Sonoma this year – something we are really looking forward to. I have a spreadsheet (of course I do) of wineries we want to try to get to and a few non-wine sites to check out. I’m always open to ideas, so if anyone has any great places to go let me know. Until the next post – happy wine exploring.

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Black Magnolia

  • Producer: Real Nice Winemakers
  • Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • Year: 2016
  • Type: Pinot Noir
  • Price estimate: $22
  • Tasting notes: Garnet in color and semi-translucent. Smells of strawberry, bramble and baking spice. Taste was great – cherry, strawberry, black fruits and a little vanilla. Very smooth and a really beautiful finish.
  • Conclusions: Fantastic wine. Loved drinking this – maybe a little too much. It has a lot of character without being fussy.
  • Notes: We got this in one of our wine club shipments and after drinking it and thinking about it for a week, I ordered three more bottles from the winery. Yes, it really was that good. It was one of those wines that holds my interest, but didn’t make me feel like I needed to study it and concentrate on the wine. It was just nice to drink. Bonus, we also ordered a rose from the same winery that, upon opening, was also great. Not the Lulu Rose great (my standard for amazing rose these days) but really good.

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Longboard Merlot

  • Producer: Longboard Winery
  • Location: Sonoma, California
  • Year: 2015
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $35
  • Tasting notes: Opaque prune color with a tint of brown at the edges. Nose has notes of leather, metal and compost. (Yes, it was not my favorite smelling wine). Taste of herbs and cherry with a note of fresh tobacco. Medium long finish.
  • Conclusions: Not bad, but also not my favorite. Think it needs another year or two before it will be fantastic.
  • Notes: I love a good Merlot and given all of the other wine we’ve had from this winery, I was very excited. Mildly disappointed, but I really do think a year or so will help and it has the potential to be a fantastic wine. The depth is there but it’s still hiding.

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Point Break Red Blend

  • Producer: Longboard Vineyards
  • Location: Sonoma, California
  • Year: 2016
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $27 (from winery)
  • Tasting notes: Inky dark purple in color. Smells a bit like a Cabernet with some pine and wood notes. Flavors on black cherry, blueberry, spice and pepper with some herbs. Finish is nice with definite coco notes. Drinks like a zin.
  • Conclusions: This is my kind of wine. easy to drink, complex but not so much going on that you feel like you need to study the wine. Bob liked it a little less than I did, but it was a great sipping wine.
  • Notes: This wine was great the day we opened it, but it was incredible the second day. It opened to a really fruity, beautiful red and lost some of the wood notes that I’m not always crazy about. (Yes, I know there are people who like the tree bark and forest floor taste, but I’m not one of them.) We are definitely getting more of this next time we order wine from the winery.

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Antiquum Farm, Pinot Noir – 2016

  • Basic info: Antiquum Farm “Juel” Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley, Oregon – 2016
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $40
  • Look: Inky. Dark Purple/plum in color.
  • Smell: fresh tobacco, red berries, grape jam and leather.
  • Taste: Cherry, blackberry and a little tart. Notes of pepper, spice and jam with a velvety texture. Coco and pepper on the finish.
  • Conclusions: Amazing. Completely blown away by this one.
  • Other notes: We opened this bottle one night when I didn’t care that it was mid-90s in October as I just really wanted a red wine. I figured Pinot Noir is a lighter red wine and would be fine. We had this bottle for a little while and we just decided to open it. I was a little worried when I smelled the wine, but holy cow the taste! I added this one to my (very short) list of wines that were completely exceptional and just about perfect – the 95 plus wines if I was into giving numbers. This one was complex, fruity without being sweet, and was one of the best wines I think I’ve had. Yes, it is on the expensive side, but I have to say – worth every penny.
  • From the bottle: “Antiquum Farm’s high elevation, thin soil site is a place of anomaly. Perhaps an oddity. This site is capable of consistently producing a balance of extremes between luxuriously ripe fruit and high-toned rippling acidity. Our farming preserves the unique attributes of this site. No off-farm fertilizers are used. native cover crops are encouraged and graze year round with a menagerie of livestock. Exhaustive measures of meticulous hand labor embody our love of farming. These old world methods create one of the region’s most unique and intensely personal wines. This is more than a way of growing wine. This is a way of life.”  14.3% alcohol by volume.

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Gruber Roschitz, Gruner Veltliner – 2017

  • Basic info: Gruber Roschitz, Gruner Veltliner, Weinviertel, Germany – 2017
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $15 (Total Wine)
  • Look: very pale yellow.
  • Smell: Lemon and apples
  • Taste: Green apple and lemon dominate the first sip. Slate, some saline and white peach in the middle with a great lemon zest finish.
  • Conclusions: This wine was better than expected. It was really enjoyable to sip in the evening and went pretty well with dinner. It sounds super acidic and while there is a good amount of acid in the glass, it is balanced and just a nice sipping wine.
  • Other notes: I picked up this bottle almost entirely for the label. It was a varietal I like and a really cute label, so sure – I’ll try it. I was very pleasantly surprised by it and will definitely pick up another or bottle or two when I want a crisp white wine.
  • From the bottle: “The Weinveirtel is famous for its spicy-fruit Gruner Veltliner. The soil around Roschitz consists largely of loess and granite bedrock and provides a distinctive Gruner Veltliner. It smells like fresh pear, yellow fruit and herbal spice with a peppery feel.” 12% alcohol by volume.

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