Tag: red wine

Mud House 2015 Pinot Noir

I’ve recently been tasting more and more wines from New Zealand (with many more to come in the near future, I assure you), and while I did stumble across a beautiful expression of Pinot Noir from Mt. Beautiful hailing from the North Canterbury region, it seems that many, if not most, wines produced are coming from the Wairau Valley. As Mudhouse Vineyard Manager Nev Gane says, “In Marlborough’s Wairau Valley most vineyard rows run perpendicular to the old braided riverbed deposits […] slight humps and hollows often lead to differing canopy densities, producing great depth and diverse flavors in the fruit.” This depth and diversity takes any of the “wishy-washy” stereotypes out of the region’s Sauvignon Blanc and certainly showcases itself in the Pinot Noir.

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Cuvaison 2015 Spire Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir from Carneros has been hit or miss with me. I often times find the expression so tightly wound that I lose all mention of real fruit. But Cuvaison has provided me not just a hit, but a home run. Crafted from a single vineyard block located on the vineyard’s highest elevation, using winemaking methods created specifically for these grapes, and keeping the real essence of those grapes and vineyards through every step of the winemaking process — Cuvaison has changed my perception of what Carneros has to offer Pinot Noir vineyards and has piqued my interest in the AVA.

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Jenny Dawn Cellars 2016 Pinot Noir

Kansas winemaker Jennifer McDonald is on the fast-track to breaking the mid-west winemaking mold. The young woman made wines at home and worked on her business plan for 4 years before releasing her inaugural vintages of her Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. And with the opening of her downtown Witchita winery just around the corner, she looks forward to increasing her portfolio to include Moscato, a Red Blend, a single-varietal Cabernet Sauvignon and even a Fruit Blend made from local Kansas produce.

McDonald calls herself a huge advocate for entrepreneurship. Her personal motto is “Have faith and never give up!”

Read more of Jenny’s story here.

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Bonny Doon Vineyard 2016 “A Basque-ette Case” Red Blend

I first met Randall Grahm at one of the annual Rhone Rangers events in San Francisco, after which he was kind enough to invite me to his Davenport tasting room and take me through a full line up of his — then — current releases. I was enthralled, not just with Randall’s obvious passion for wine, but his innate ability to teach about wine and pass his passion forward. That first one-on-one meeting will always be a special memory for me.

The thing about Bonny Doon Vineyard wines is that there’s, well, a lot of them — reds, whites, pinks, even oranges and more obscure colors — the common thread being Rhone varietals and Rhone-style blends. As a young winemaker, Grahm sought to recreate the great wines of France here in his native California home, but soon realized that one cannot make French wine if one is not, in fact, in France. So now the very core of his Rhone-style wines is the idea of vins de terroir — wine that speaks of its specific place and time. He’s constantly experimenting with new-to-California wine grape varieties to see if and where they’ll thrive — and if he finds a vine’s sweet spot, rest-assured a wine will soon follow. He also plays with the idea of Rhone-style blends. This eclectic mix of Iberian grapes Tempranillo and Graciano along with the well-recognized Rhone grape Grenache Blanc was, for me, a new concept — and one I couldn’t leave behind in the tasting room.

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