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What Your Wine Says About You (Wine Humor)

19 Feb

Backstory: My friend Jamie Hunter Ross tagged my social media with a (cute & outdated) poster called “What Your Wine Says About You” with a dozen wines, and jokes like: Cab(ernet) “Cab” is the only wine type you can confidently pronounce.  See below: 
   

Well, that made me think, if someone made a modern version of this for the wine intelligentsia:  the Sommeliers, the wine writers, the wine collectors, and the wine snobs, if you will.

Well… Voilà! 

Here’s JvB’s ‘Wine Snob version’ of

What Your Wine Says About You:

Pinot Grigio: it’s the least offensive wine you’ve ever tasted.
California Oaked Chardonnay: Stop annoying your mother, dear. Now, go run & play!
California Chardonnay with a couple of ice cubes: it’s 100 degrees in the shade.
Puligny-Montrachet: Evidently, you have too damn much money.
Romanée-Conti Grand Cru: You have so much damn money, you want to set it on fire.
NV Champagne: You’re bubbly and fun, dammit.
Vintage Champagne: Watch me saber this and hurt someone.
California 
Cabernet Sauvignon: Because big fruit bombs are your thing.
Screaming Eagle: You made all your money in finance and want to urinate on someone’s shoes.
Merlot: You can actually pronounce it, but never saw the movie “Sideways”.
Pinot Noir: You are even more snobby than you think.
5th Growth Bordeaux: You can speak French but have to work for a living.

1st Growth Bordeaux: You can speak French AND waste your children’s inheritance.
Riesling: You like fast cars, Oompah bands, veal schnitzel, and wine with a little petrol in it.
Rosé: You’re just here to day drink.
Brut Rosé Champagne: You just want to feel pretty and day drink, on someone else’s dime.
Gewürztraminer: You used to be fun and loud and now you’re kind of dry and quiet.
Moscato: You like cherry coke and cookies for breakfast.
Chenin Blanc: You like popular trends but are actually kind of bland.
Semillon: You have family money but no sense of fashion.
Sauternes: You like foie gras, lobster with truffle butter, and Kobe beef, in that order. 
Old Vine Zinfandel:
You like aged steaks and aged vines, but younger partners.
Sangiovese: You like fast cars and fast women, but don’t drive so well.
Barolo: You drive a Mercedes Benz AGT GT63 Coup with a gorgeous partner in a perfectly tailored suit who can shift you into 9th gear with their eyes from the passenger seat.
Brunello: You’re an old soul, served with a side of pasta.
Dolcetto: You are old school, all the way.
Primotivo: You live in the fast lane and don’t mind a few broken bones… yours or theirs.
Prosecco: You just wanted to have a good time and now you’re crying.
Cava: You, apathetic: “Let them eat cake, the infidels.”
French Sauvignon Blanc: You love your citrus bright & refreshing, with a little bit of cat pee.
Australian Sauvignon Blanc: You prefer grass to cat pee, with shrimp on the barbie, mate.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: You do the Māori Haka (War Dance) with your pinky finger extended.
Pinotage: You like to eat what you hunt and kill.
Kekfrancos: You like your music loud, your meat bloody, and your partners a little dumb.
Cabernet Franc: You’re a nonconformist and won’t be told what to do, dammit!
Vin Jaune: You like old things that taste of sherry and oxidation, like your grandparents.
Cru Beaujolais: You like things that are fresh, bright, and not too expensive.

Beaujolais Nouveau: You want to get drunk cheaply & appear classier than you are.

Blue Wine: You go to raves and pretend you’re an alien.
Pinot Bianco: You: “Hey, C’mere, beautiful!”
Pinot Nero: You: “Get outta here you, whassamatta you?”
Nebbiolo: You have the looks of Isabella Rossellini, can cook like Lidia Bastianich, but you’re always broke.
Montepulciano: You cook like Mario Batali, but you look like him, too.
Chianti: You like pasta bolognese, The Godfather, and a pencil-thin mustache.
Chianto Classico: You are a landlord, a loan broker, and a politician, at the same time.
Lambrusco: Your drunk uncle mixed up the grapes for prosecco AGAIN!
Rioja Blanca: You enjoy being a homemaker, but please, Get OUT of my kitchen!
Rioja Crianza: You walk quietly but carry a big stick.
Rioja Reserva: You have a lovely spouse, children, and home, with a lovely Middle-Aged Crisis.
Rioja Gran Reserva: You own a condo on Ibiza and a small but nice boat.
Tempranillo: You vacation in Cancun to rest, but return sunburned with Montezuma’s revenge.
Garnacha: You feel like a Ferrari but people look at you like you’re a Fiat.
Grüner Veltliner: You like skiing in the alps, and yodeling after sex.
Syrah: You still fantasize about the foreign exchange student you never bedded.
Petite Sirah: You slept with your ex’s younger sibling for revenge
Shiraz: You like going on safari, sport fishing, and the red light district.
Malbec: You want more than a mouthful, but sometimes dribble down your shirt.
White Zinfandel: You don’t like wine, and you don’t intend to change your mind, or pretend to drink it, either.

I hope you got some good laughs from this!
Please feel free to share, leave a comment and tell me your favorite below!

à votre santé!

Total Wine Challenge Part 2: White Wines Under $12.99

30 Jan

if you read part 1 of this post, then you know that this tasting was part of a challenge from Justin Koury & Bevfluence  to find six “good or better” wines in the $12.99 and Under category from a national retailer, which in this case, is  Total Wine & More. 

 

A reminder of my rules:  

  1. I would not review wines I have previously tasted.
  2. I would look for small producers in regions known for good value. 
  3. I would avoid the two most popular white grapes: chardonnay and sauvignon blanc.
  4. I would take advantage of the Mix6 discount, since I knew I needed six bottles (Three red, three white.)   

 

I’ve already written about the red wines. (Click the link at the beginning of this post!)
Ready for the awesome white wines? 

 

 

All Rights Reserved. Images and Text Copyright 2021, JvBUnCorked. 

 

 

Seastone Albariño 2019, DO Rias Baixas, Spain. 12.5% ABV, $12.99/bottle ($11.69 Mix 6)


Color is medium straw; the nose is a delicate mix of citrus peel, floral blossoms, and tangerine. On the palate, gentle stone fruit before acidity. White peach, Braeburn apple, lime zest, and salinity, followed by almond paste. Lemon pith, limestone, and tart acidity on the finish, leaving the mouth refreshed. A good pairing for fish, shellfish, fresh fruits and vegetables, and moderate entrees. I paired this with baked flounder, a fresh green salad and sautéed kale, then enjoyed it with goat cheese on a multigrain cracker for an after dinner snack. I liked how this paired with ginger, soy, and hot pepper chicken and vegetable stir-fry. I have been serving and enjoying Albariño more and more in the last year; Americans seem to be just starting to appreciate the flexibility of this grape. Good wine, great value.

 

 

 

All Rights Reserved. Images and Text Copyright 2021, JvBUnCorked.

 

 

Herederos del Marques De Riscal 100% Rueda Verdejo 2019, DO Rueda, Spain. 13% ABV, $5.49/bottle ($4.94 Mix 6)


Color is pale straw with a green tinge. The nose offers salt air, Meyer lemon, and jasmine. On the palate: lemon-lime, lemongrass, grapefruit, Forelle pear, and green herbaceousness on the back palate with just a tiny hint of bitterness on the finish. According to their label, the wine is 100% organic. I first paired this with seafood (a no-brainer), then a vegetarian meal of grilled vegetables over black beans and rice, which also worked nicely.  Finally, the last glass accompanied Thai spring rolls and spicy basil chicken perfectly. My tasting note says: “Goes with anything. Should buy a case.” 

Ok, I really liked this wine. Really: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Huge QPR!  Darn pandemic, I wish I had a tasting schedule so I could serve this wine to guests. They’d never expect it costs so little! Restaurants should buy this by the pallet and sell it for $8/glass. How often can you find a really delicious white wine for $5 a BOTTLE? Don’t expect it to stay this cheap for long.  

I almost broke my own rule on this wine; I have enjoyed wines from this winemaker before, though not the Verdejo. How shocked was I, that the lowest priced wine I tried was the one I enjoyed pairing the most? Really impressive, this wine is a tremendous value. 

 

 

 

San Gregorio Single Vineyard La Muela Macabeo 2019, Catayud DOC, Spain. 14.1%ABV, $11.99/bottle ($10.79 Mix 6)

 

Color is medium straw; the nose offers gentle citrus, sweet melon, and honey. Delicate lime zest, honeydew, and Concorde pear are on the palate. Acidity crosses the upper back palate, with secondary notes of green herbs and minerals. Finishes with a clear, fresh resolve. 

This single vineyard macabeo paired nicely with Thai chicken in basic sauce, roast turkey, salmon, as well as lentil soup and a salad. It would be an obvious and easy pairing with grilled seafood, tapas, or pesto sauce. Another solid cellar option I am glad to learn about, another of the San Gregorio, and one more of several well-priced wines at Total Wine & More that are deserving of your attention.  

In case it sounds unfamiliar, the macabeo grape is also known as viura in Rioja. Viura is commonly used as a blending grape in creation of Spain’s sparkling wine, cava. In France, macabeo is known as maccabeu, and can be found in vineyards along the southern Languedoc-Roussillon region. 

 

 

 

What did I learn by this challenge? 
These are wines I normally ignore, and I simply won’t ignore wines under $13 any more. My regular price point starts at $15/bottle and I learned a lesson about that, for the second time in about a year! These Spanish and Italian wines below $13 were well worth my time. (The last time was Pedro Cancela. Remember my February 2020 piece on Wines of the Dão?) Yes, my personal tastes, the pricey chardonnays and pinot noirs are awesome, as are the old and rare bottles, but there is absolutely a place in my home for these wines. And no matter what the price, THEY DELIVER.

So you should consider giving them a taste, and sharing with us what you think.  

 

#WIYG? 


à votre santé!

 

#1299AndUnder

#underthebevfluence

#wineaux

#properlycorrupted

Total Wine Challenge: Red Wines Under $12.99

25 Jan

My friend Justin Koury of Bevfluence asked me to join in a wine challenge; I accepted. 

The Challenge was to find six “good or better” wines in the $12.99 and Under category from a national retailer. 

I was assigned Total Wine & More, (TW) a merchant that I commonly use with clients for their personal shopping. With 214 retail locations in 26 states, they are a vendor I use regularly for clientele because they make it easy for me to find wines to meet a customer’s desires. What’s different is that I normally look in higher price ranges of $15-$25 and $25-$50.  So while I know the merchant, I had little other background or idea what I’d be buying or tasting. 

While ideally I’d prefer a “mom and pop” style stores, Total Wine’s buying power allows them to deal directly with a winery which is a win/win, for the winery, for TW, and for the consumer. Additionally, TW has a multi-bottle deal called “Mix6” which is a 10% discount on more than 6 bottles marked Mix6. This is the incentive a smart buyer is looking for: a discount on the lesser-known bottles. But the same smart buyer can look for either a shelf-talker or a rating or score to help them take a chance in tasting something new. 

My rules, (set for myself) 

  1. I would not review wines I have previously tasted.
  2. I would look for small producers in regions known for good value. 
  3. I would avoid the the two most popular red grapes: cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
  4. I would take advantage of the Mix6 discount, since I knew I needed six bottles (Three red, three white.)   

 

So I’m not the average buyer, but these are wines I don’t know in the entry-level category. So I thought I’d start by looking at Spain and southern Italy for wines in these price ranges. And I quickly found what I was looking for. 

 

  

 

San Gregorio Single Vineyard Las Martas Garnacha 2018, Calatayud DOC, Spain. 15% ABV, $9.99/bottle, ($8.99 Mix 6 Price)

Color is magenta, shifting into purple; the nose offers red plum, black cherry, and a hint of mocha. The initial taste provides a solid mouthfeel of black plum, black cherry, stewed prune, with some heat across the mid palate. Wine shows solid tannic structure, drying across the front palate. Secondary notes of forest floor, cinnamon, wet earth, clay, and limestone. Downturn on the finish works nicely for this garnacha. Tasting this 2018 over the course of a week, with grilled meat, burgers, roast turkey, flatbread pizza, as well as Thai and Mexican. Garnacha, aka Grenache in other areas, is hugely planted across the globe in hot dry areas and is often used as a blending grape, like merlot and cabernet franc. It’s rare to find a single vineyard garnacha in this price range. The end result is that wine drinkers find great flavor for a great value. 

 

Latitud 42 Rioja Ecologica 2018, Rioja DOC,  Northern Spain. 100% Tempranillo, 14.5% ABV,  $9.99/bottle ($8.99 Mix 6 Price)

Color is bright ruby. Aromas of spice, bright cherry, and dried tobacco leaf on the nose. Bright red fruit (red plum, cherry) and acidity are delivered quickly to the front palate. The acidity starts mid-palate and moves back, as the finish arrives early and stays late, with vanilla, clove, clay, and granite, with a pleasant note of sour cherry holding to the end. Fun, a touch sweet, easy to drink. Ideal for pairing with tapas, Pan Con Tomato (tomato on grilled bread) grilled seafood (octopus, shrimp, turbot), sofritos, and paella come to mind. I enjoyed this with a margarita pizza on night one and beef stew on night two. Tempranillo is under-appreciated in the USA, and that’s one reason why you can get this wine at such a good price! 

 

 

 

 

Marchese di Borgosole Salice Salentino Riserva 2017, Apulia, Italy.  13.5%ABV, $12.99/bottle ($11.70 Mix 6 Price) 


Color is a deep purple center with light ruby edging. The nose offers rose petal, fresh pepper, and black stewed fruit.  On the palate, black plum and black cherry with a hint of raspberry up front. Secondary notes are of lavender, forest floor, tobacco leaf, and smoked paprika. If you’ve never had the  Negroamaro grape or don’t know Italian wines well, this is a great entry to Italian wine. You could buy a case of this and be surprised at just how well the wine pairs with food types across the board- it would be an excellent house red! I paired this wine with roast beef & vegetables, salmon, bruschetta, Mexican, Thai, even chocolate. Anything I threw at it seemed quite happy.  Having the last sip on day 5 after being opened, the salinity was a bit forward but the wine still delivered and paired nicely with pasta bolognese. I would have expected this wine to price at $20 or more, and it exceeded my expectations! The bottle image quickly got response from social media, from followers really liking the label. What’s not to like? 

 

 

 

For wine lovers who are looking at solid values for daily drinking, a mixed case of these three reds is a no-brainer to me. They pair so easily, and would also be a very appropriate gift wine for a friend or neighbor. 


If you try one of these wines, please reply to this post and let me know! 
Do you shop at Total Wine & More?

Do you buy using their Mix6 approach?

Do you have other suggestions for customers to find great deals or values? 

Thanks! 

WIYG? 

#WhatsInYourGlass? 

 

#1299AndUnder

#underthebevfluence

#wineaux

#properlycorrupted

 

 

 

à votre santé!

2020 Holiday Wines

17 Dec

Happy Holidays!
As we wrap up this unprecedented, dumpster fire of a year, we still have holidays to celebrate while quarantined at home. What we know is, WE NEED MORE WINE.


So here are JvB’s wine picks for the Christmas Holidays to wrap up 2020!

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you should ignore white wine. 

You should start the festivities with something dry, fun , and fruity! Albariño is what you should be looking for! This is a wine you can start to pour anytime, while cooking, when you’re still opening presents, and before or after the big meal, this is fresh and zesty and will keep people happy all day long!  You are looking for wines from Spain’s Rías Baixas region, the southwestern coast of Galicia, to source some stunning, Mediterranean  Albariño! Some of the better-known producers you’ll find on the shelves include Paco & Lola, Martin Codax,  Pazo de Señorans, Castro Martin Family Estate, and Pazo Pondal. 

Total Wine has over a dozen Albariño wines from Rías Baixas ranging from $10-$30, Wine.com has almost two dozen bottles in the same range. These are high pleasure wines that deliver. They drink well on their own, and best of all, they pair amazingly well with the appetizers, the vegetable sides you’ll be serving, AND the meats, whether you are serving a turkey or other bird, ham, or roast. 

 

Ready to raise your game? You need a delicious and decadent white wine.  White Rhône Blends are what you should be looking for. These wines from the South of France have a fuller mouthfeel, while still providing fresh fruit notes and broad acidity. When I pour these wines for a first-timer at the tasting table, tasters consistently find these wines to be a glamorous experience and are immediately impressed. Whether that is for you or for your family, it can’t hurt, right?   

People get confused by the term Rhône blend. It’s quite simple: winemakers will blends several Rhône grape varieties to make a lovely mixture- from grapes such as bourbolenc, grenache blanc, roussane, marsanne, clairette blanche, and picpoul. They might be hard to pronounce, but all you have to do is enjoy! And the resulting, fuller mouthfeel and luxurious response will continue to improve as you pair the wine with roast, goose, turkey, baked ham, or other complex flavor combinations from the holiday meal.

One of my favorite winemakers of Rhône style wines is Sue Tipton of  Acquiesce Winery in Lodi, California. (Sidebar: yes, it’s California and not France. She uses the same grapes in a different location, but with similar Mediterranean growing weather & conditions.) Tipson’s Rhône-style wines simply shine with brilliance, flavor, and joy in the bottle, and of course, I heartily suggest you try their wines! (Click the link above!) But every decent wine store in the USA will also have Rhône style blends, from luxurious Hermitage and Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blancs to the entry-level La Vielle Ferme Blanc for a mere  $7.50 at Total Wine ,  which is most likely in a prominent aisle in your local wine store! You’ll find a bevy of wines in between those ranges.

OK, – let me take a breath. Ahhhh. It’s December. There is snow on the ground in many places. And we’re with only our closest family. Let me take another breath, and think pleasant thoughts:  

“Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.” – Andre Simon     

Moving ahead! 

When it comes to choosing red wines for the holiday meal, it is imperative to do your best in pairing the wine choice with the meal. For a great food & wine pairing, we must match the weight of the food with the weight of the body in wine. So you are looking for bright and fruity with medium to moderate weight. Here are three great options, easily found on your local store’s shelves or at Total Wine or Wine.com (And NO, I’m not advertising them, I’m just trying to help you find wines more easily.)

Cru Beaujolais. Here we have the structure and depth of expensive pinot noir at a fraction of the cost. You can choose to age these, or drink them relatively young! The ten crus (regions) are divided into two groups, first,  those you are LIKELY to find: Brouilly, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, and Moulin-à-Vent. Secondly, those that are more rare: Chinas, Chiroubles, Côte de Brouilly, Régnié, and St-Amour.  You should be able to find wines from Fleurie (known for floral aromatics and bright fruit)  or Morgon (known for depth, robust flavor, and structure) in most wine stores int the $20-40 range, and these wines consistently deliver far above their price point. 

Chianti Classico: Towards the full-bodied side, these wines are made from Sangiovese grapes grown under the lovely Tuscan sun, they are refined wines with lovely tannin and structure that range from high teens to mid 30’s in price. It’s hard to go wrong here, if you know the secret: look for the black rooster on the label, which is the guarantee that the wine is indeed from the DOCG Chianti Classico! You’ll recognize some of the most popular winemakers: Antinori, Banfi, Castello di Monsanto, Mazzei, Ruffino, Santa Margherita, and Viticcio just to name a few. Highly popular, easy to drink in quantity, and always delivering high quality.  Chianti Classico is NOT just for Italian food. Trust me. Try it. You’ll thank me.  

Rioja Riserva is still under appreciated in the USA, which is good for those in the know. It’s funny, because a “JS 93 point” Chianti Classico wine is almost $30, but you can grab a JS 92 point Rioja for $14 bucks! In Rioja you’re going to find the Tempranillo grape, usually with oak aging, and moderate tannin, in a very food-friendly approach. These wines are highly structured like Cabernet Sauvignon, with beautiful fruit like Garnacha/Grenache.  Truly, what’s not to like?  Bodegas LAN, Bodegas Muga, Faustino, Marques de Murrieta, Marques de Riscal, R. Lopez de Heredia, Viña Ardanza,  and Viña Real are just a few of the household names you should be able to find on your local shelves with price ranges from the $15- $50; with a slew of killer options in the high teens to high 20’s. One more bit of knowledge is that it’s easier to find AGED Rioja on the shelf, to increase your wine lover’s drinking pleasure. Both Total Wine and Wine.com have bottles from 2009-2011 for around $30. Talk about a mic drop moment- BOOM! You’ll be amazed at how fabulous these wines are, and how well they pair with your meal. 

Let us take another breath.

 

I’ve likely given you TOO much to consider, but I always think more options are better. 

 

As we wrap up this dumpster fire of a year, I look forward to 2021 with the awesome news that in spite of the trauma and drama of covid-19,   JvBUnCorked continues to thrive in blog form as well as on Twitter and Instagram. And I can not wait to get back to doing tastings and wine dinners with you in person! 

 

What are YOU looking forward to in 2021? 

à votre santé!

 

What to Cellar?

26 Apr

This week I joined my friends Jenn & Stub as part of their live broadcast of Wine Antics to talk discuss cellaring!

If you missed it, you can watch the episode here:

 

Now, during this episode, we talked about what wines you SHOULD think about cellaring, and it was suggested that I put a blog post up as a reference. #SmartThinking, #GoodResource. So let’s do that, but let’s go back to my cellar basics first:

 

First, let’s talk about long term storage. Those are wines that I expect will need to be in perfect temperature, light, & humidity conditions for 5+ years, and some for much, much longer!

What wines do you want to cellar long term? 

1. Start with Full-Bodied Red Wines, especially from Classic & Cult Producers

2. Any Old World First or Second Growth Wines; starting with Premium Left-Bank Bordeaux, Cru Burgundy, and stars from Châteauneuf-du-Pape

3. Italian wines from Tuscany, Piedmont, and Veneto, such as Amarone, Reserve Chianti & Tempranillo, Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Super-Tuscans

4. Classic Spanish and Portuguese Red Wines

5. Vintage Champagnes

6. Dessert wines such as Hungarian Tokaji, German & Alsatian Riesling, French Sauternes and Basra

7. Wines that are timeless, designed to last for decades: Port, Madeira, and Vin Jaune from The Jura region of France

8. Age-worthy white wine, usually high in acidity on release.

9. Premium/Bold Cabernet Sauvignon from the USA

Here are a few examples of wines worth holding long term:

(hey, I can dream, right?)

 

“But hey, JvB”, you say, “what about all the OTHER wines you have in storage?”

In addition to long term storage, I have short & medium storage, broken down as:  A) Recent acquisitions to open/taste in 1-3 year range; and B) Wines that will improve from at least 2-3 years of storage but that I may start opening sooner but enjoy before 5 years of age.

Some good examples of  wines to cellar for Short Term Storage (1-3 years): 

Washington, Texas, Virginia, & NY State Reds,

-Oregon & California Pinot Noirs,

-Most American white wines,

-American Sparkling Wines, Prosecco & Cava

-All my white/rosé wine club wines.

 

Some good examples of B), my wines requiring 2-to-5 years of storage, include: 

-Cru Beaujolais wines,

-Right Bank/smaller Bordeaux producers that will hit their peak earlier

-California/US Reserve Wine Club red wines

-Most European and New World lighter reds, Pinot Noir, Primitivo, Garnacha

-White Bordeaux Bends, High end Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, & Chenin Blanc

 

 

Does this help you think about HOW to cellar wine, and WHAT wines to cellar, for the short, medium, or long term?

What is in your cellar? Do you have a category of wines that I entirely forgot? Drop a line and let me know what you’re holding in your cellar, for short, medium, or long term!

à votre santé!

My Pandemic: Acquiesce Bourboulenc, Domaine du Bouscat, Sunier Fleurie

29 Mar

The 2020 Pandemic of COVID-19 has left people feeling both isolated and depressed. One of the best things I found in the second week of isolation was groups of friends who would get together on line, have drinks, and talk about their feelings:  what they are experiencing, be it isolation and depression, simply how they were surviving, or just what happened to be in their glass.

Say no more, I was IN!  Here was an opportunity to simply pull from my cellar and grab something my palate was asking for, to see some friendly faces and say hi! So here we go!  

 

 

Domaine du Bouscat, Caduce Bordeaux Supérieur 2012. 13.5% ABV, SRP $15/bottle. 

Deep garnet with purple edging, the nose is rich and foreboding. The palate is full of dark red and black fruit, heavy on the black currants, with mellowing tannin, and solid acidity. Secondary notes are of eucalyptus, forest floor, pipe tobacco, and granite. This is the last bottle of a case I purchased years ago; each bottle has been an excellent bargain and what a pleasure to enjoy it over the last half-decade. I paired this with red meat, grilled asparagus, baked cauliflower, and gouda cheese over the course of five days and the wine evolved into a more aromatic, less tannic, gentle view of Bordeaux. Either way, it was delicious and fun to finish up this case of wine that had become a trusted friend. 

 

All content: copyright 2020, JvB UnCorked. All Rights Reserved. 

 

2018 Bourboulenc, Acquiesce Winery, Lodi, CA. 13.5% ABV, SRP $28/bottle.

Pale gold in color, the nose offers honey, apricot, and a hint of geranium. On the palate is a beautiful fruit compote of pear, orange, green apple and honeysuckle. Supple acidity swirls across the top palate with a lovely lemon zest finish. I paired this on two evenings with turkey cutlet and whole wheat pasta, the wine is so flavorful and luscious, while maintaining a gentle, restrained, and crisp flavor profile. This is a wine that I pour and my guests simply ask for more, more, and more. You will do the same, and will feel lucky to have found a great resource for this rare Rhône varietal in Lodi, California. 

 

 

 

Julien Sunier 2018 Fleurie, Gamay, Beaujolais, France. 12% ABV, $29/bottle from Crush Wine & Spirits 

Those who are lovers of Burgundy are often fans of Cru Beaujolais. I am one of these people! Those who seek the exquisite, top end of the gamay grape are rewarded by passionate, expert winemakers who craft their small plots into wines of perfection. This is a perfect example: the 2016 vintage was ravaged by hail. The grapes suffered, harvests were smaller, but flavors soared. I opened this bottle last night, and could not stop tasting. The wine is classically pale ruby with a glamorous and perfumed nose, while flavors explode off the palate. Sour cherry, red currants, red plum, a hint of young strawberry lead into a beautiful acidity, with soaring minerality. Everything feels slightly larger than life, and for the wine lover, that means you will want glass after glass, bottle after bottle. Believe me, if you love the high-end gamay, you will adore this wine. Sunier is a winemaker’s winemaker; this is a geeky glass of wine heaven. My only regret on this wine is simply having not purchased more. 

 

 

All content: copyright 2020, JvB UnCorked. All Rights Reserved. 

 

 

What’s in your glass? 

 

à votre santé!

 

New Year’s Bottles and my “Dry” January

25 Jan

Several close friends decided to have a dry January. Everyone understands the idea, you’re dieting off the weight that got put on over the holidays, and your liver could use a break. While I had some time off from work, I saw my doctor and had my blood work done- so I know my liver is in excellent shape, even with a glass of wine every night, sometimes a little more. But I do like to find balance, so I tried to enjoy some of the wines I’ve reviewed in the past that have lower ABV, such as vino verde, riesling, tokaji, and furmint. There are plenty of choices out there when you want to find them. And I had a “drier” January, no doubt.

But for New Year’s, I was fortunate to spend a couple of days with OTHER friends at the shore who weren’t having a Dry January…so I brought a few special bottles, because that’s how I roll. Right? I mean… you must know me by now.

 

Beware: wine porn follows. So if you are still having a Dry January, this might whet your appetite. Just to be fair…

 

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Copyright 2020 by Jim van Bergen, JvBUnCorked

 

Sparklings: The sekt riesling from Mosel was a bottle I was so proud of being able to find- a real treasure! And it was  delicious, with a hint of delicately sweet fruit. The two Cremant d’Alsace bottles were something I simply adore and love to share with friends- not too much brioche, ideal balance of fruit, flavor, effervescence and fun! The brut rosé Crémant de Bourgogne was a big winner for me- pinot noir, so beautiful, amazing color, delicious and I always wish I bought more! And then finally the brut rosé Champagne Caillez Demaire, a gorgeous Champagne that makes you just want to sit down and do nothing else but dive in to the glass you hold until the elixir is gone. YUM!

 

For me, it would not be a true celebration without some white Burgundy- that’s my wine ‘Achilles heel’, for sure!


 

The 2013 was still showing beautifully!

 

For big meals with ten friends, it takes a few special bottles to get things moving. Whites included wines from Sonoma, Burgundy, Italy, and Germany.

 

 

The red wines sourced from France, Italy, Germany, & the USA’s Washington State.

Copyright 2020 by Jim van Bergen, JvBUnCorked

This 2009 bottle of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from Jason Moore of Modus wines, was showing exceptionally well!

 

 

One more treasure from my cellar, the only bottle of Macvin du Jura I’ve found in an NYC wine store to date! Macvin du Jura is savagnin wine fortified with brandy, it is truly unusual and delightful for an aperitif.  And oh, how special!

 

Copyright 2020 by Jim van Bergen, JvBUnCorked

 

 

And because making dinner takes a lot of energy, this is the snack for the prep zone. A tasty cabernet franc and pinot noir, respectively, with snacks!

 

So after this kind of New Year’s Eve, maybe a dry January was called for after all?

 

Did you celebrate a Dry January?

 

à votre santé!

Thanksgiving 2019 Postmortem

30 Nov

The parade, the big meal, and sadly the family have come and gone. We’re now full on into the Holiday season, whatever you might celebrate.

 

Do you postmortem your meal and wine? I do.  I always, always do.

(Link to my annual Thanksgiving post from this year, if you need a refresher!)

 

So, short and quick, here are my game day highlights:

1) The sparkling wine is the big crowd pleaser.
Trevari’s Tasting Room Sparkling Rosé and Blanc de Noirs were a HUGE win at the table.
Their Blanc de Blanc is a STEAL at $15/bottle for a sparkling wine that everyone will enjoy.

 Treveri Rosé and Viciarious Modus Cellars

 

2. The Acquiesce Grenache Rosé was the favorite for those who wanted a lighter and refreshing wine.

 

Modus Sauvignong Blanc and Acqueice Grenache Rosé
 

3.  The Rivers-Marie 2015 Sonoma Pinot Noir was the favorite for those who preferred a red wine.

 

RiversMarie2015 and ABC SBC Pinot
 

For my email, Facebook, and Twitter folks who reached out (requesting wines for their meals with origins outside the USA) they had positive responses from my personal suggestions of: 

France: Alsace Sparkling Rosé, Chablis, Premiere Cru Beaujolais, Bordeaux blends.

Italy: Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, and Aldo Adige Pinot Grigio

Spain: Albariño, Graciano, Garnacha, and Tempranillo

Portugal: Viñho Verde

Australia: Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand: Pinot Noir

Germany & Austria: Rielsing, Zweigelt, Grüner Veltliner, and Müller Thurgau

 

What were your Thanksgiving Day wine highlights? Did you have any failures? (I have had some over the years. We live and learn!)

Please feel free to share & comment below.  Happy Holidays!

 

à votre santé!!

Thanksgiving Wines, 2019

23 Nov

Thanksgiving. Get the whole family around the table and celebrate the most American of holidays! It is a day of thanks for the past and present, with hope for the future.

A holiday that is all about family, thankfulness, harvest, and food. Where do I sign up?

Thanksgiving is the biggest reason why I started this blog so many years ago: it’s the time of year where my phone rings, texts fly, emails arrive, and I get stopped on the street to discuss the same question over and over: “What wine should I serve with Thanksgiving Dinner?”

You KNOW I love the entire world of wines. But I think we should celebrate an American meal with American wines! We’re using turkey, corn, squash, green beans, pumpkin- how about US grown wines? You’ve got dozens of regions to choose from, so please, grab that Texas Hill Country Wine, the Virginia and Finger Lakes wines, the Michigan and Oregon wines. Don’t be shocked that many of my suggestions are from California’s Napa, Sonoma, and Lodi. No offense, ok?

If you are doing ONE wine, then you should think rosé or pinot noir. But you SHOULD consider at least two wines, a red and a white, for flexibility with the family meal and the multitudes of guests.

There are links provided to help you find a wine if you’re interested in my suggestions. But to find them close to your home, point your web browser to wine-searcher.com, vivono, wine.com, or one of the many other wine access sites available to see what provider close to you might have these wines in inventory, to save time and shipping costs.

 

Copyright by Jim van Bergen, JvB UnCorked 2019.  May Not Be Duplicated Without Permission.
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Sparkling
Yes, America is FULL of great sparkling winemakers: Gloria Ferrer, Schramsberg, Balletto Vineyards,  Domaine Carneros, Roederer Estate, my list goes on and on, across the $25-$125 range. For the budget conscious: Underwood’s Sparkling Rosé for $15. At my house, we’ll be starting off this year with Treveri Cellar’s Tasting Room Rosé, a brut sparkling that is bright pink in color, made of 50% each of pinot noir and chardonnay. Sadly, this is only available for purchase in their tasting room- but their half-dozen other sparking wines are shippable, also delicious, and all in the $15-$25 range!

 

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White
Unless you have a chardonnay on the un-oaked and leaner side (think Chablis or Meursault, or in the USA, like Sonoma’s highly prized and rare DuMOL estate chardonnays) then you are better off serving something lean and acidic. Think Picpoul Blanc, Albariño, and Sauvignon Blanc! I love Acquiesce Winery‘s Picpoul Blanc ($28), and  Modus Operandi’s Sauvignon Blanc ($35). Plus, the Galician grape Albariño generates what I consider to be “easy home run” wines from Lodi, absolutely delicious and perfect pairing from manufacturers like Bokisch Vineyards ($18), Harney Lane ($20), and Klinker Brick ($15) just to name a few.

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Red
In the past I usually added a full-bodied red for a few guests who preferred massive fruit and tannin. This year I’m cleansing my palate and sticking with what really works: Pinot Noir. What pairs best with savory gravy, herb-filled dressing, dark meat and cranberry sauce? Pinot Noir. What cleanses your palate best if you have duck or a roast? Pinot Noir!
Patton Valley Vineyard from the Willamette Valley ($40), yes, that’s a 2010 from my cellar. Au Bon Climat is a Santa Barbara County mainstay that will pair so perfectly you’ll wonder what hit you ($24 and up, my favorite is the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard). A cellar treasure I’ve held for this year is the Rivers-Marie 2015 Silver Eagle Vineyard ($55).    Want the awesome budget pinot: Try District 7’s Monterey Estate Pinot Noir ($14).

 

Copyright by Jim van Bergen, JvB UnCorked 2019.  May Not Be Duplicated Without Permission.

 

 

Copyright by Jim van Bergen, JvB UnCorked 2019.  May Not Be Duplicated Without Permission.

 

Rosé
You KNOW I had to include rosé. Insanely popular (especially with my family’s millennial ladies) it is always refreshing on the palate, and there is SO MUCH great rosé available these days! So I have two of my favorites in the world from my cellar: Acquiesce Winery’s Grenache Rosé ($25), this wine is so tasty, I’ve seen people fight over the last glass!  And lastly, Modus Operandi’s Rosé of Pinot Noir (currently sold out), which is so perfectly dry, I find it tremendous- which winemaker Jason Moore makes only because his clients BEG for it, and it’s often sold out as soon as it’s available.

Copyright by Jim van Bergen, JvB UnCorked 2019.  May Not Be Duplicated Without Permission.

 

Copyright by Jim van Bergen, JvB UnCorked 2019.  May Not Be Duplicated Without Permission.

 

 

So, what do you think of this year’s lineup? What are you planning for YOUR Thanksgiving Feast?

à votre santé!!

2013 Nebbiolo, Tanjuli Winery, Rattlesnake Hills AVA, Washington State, USA.

21 Sep

2013 Nebbiolo, Tanjuli Winery, Rattlesnake Hills AVA. 13.9% ABV, $38/bottle SRP

 

That’s right. Your eyes did not deceive you.
Nebbiolo from Washington State.

Let’s get this straight:

South East of Seattle and Northeast of Portland, closer to Walla Walla, Washington, to the east of the Yakima River is the Rattlesnake Hills AVA.

 

 

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Color is a bright, translucent ruby. The nose offers bright red fruit, peppercorn, dried tobacco leaf and a touch of of tar. The palate begins with bright cherry and ripe raspberry, with sour cherry on the back end, There is lovely acidity up front, a wash of red fruition the mid-palate, with sour fruit on the back palate, which is quite a pleasing profile. I’m don’t usually associate sour with pleasing, but this sour acidity is akin to balsamic vinegar or a half-sour pickle, and is quite a tasty on the palate. I paired this wine first with classic Italian pasta and marinara sauce (too easy), then again with fresh mozzarella and balsamic vinegar -so good it was criminal! Then I paired it with grilled meat, and finally with an asian stir-fry. In each case, win, win and win. This wine is so tasty alone but loves food to play with. Also: it lasted for nine days after opening in the fridge, with no treatment other than a good stopper!

 

I purchased this bottle a year ago after visiting Tanjuli and held it to get a touch more age. What I found by opening this wine was a bottle with a great flavor profile, but plenty of time left. Truly, I wish I’d held it longer, as it still has great potential for development. Tanjuli are currently selling their 2014 Nebbiolo direct from the winery; I’d suggest you can age this 2-5 additional years to get maximum enjoyment from the bottle.

 

 

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May Not Be Duplicated Without Permission.

 

Washington State has many wineries that have surprised me with the quality of their wines and the passion of the winemakers. Visit them if you’re in the area, or look for an opportunity to taste their wines. Tanjuli had several wines that hooked me, please let me know if you’ve tasted their wines or if you have an opportunity to visit them!

Copyright by Jim van Bergen, JvB UnCorked 2019.  May Not Be Duplicated Without Permission.

 

à votre santé!

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