Tag Archives: Iconic Wine

Iconic Wines go Lodi!

4 Jul

I’m a fan of small, independent winemakers. Over the last couple of years I’ve been fortunate to try wines from Iconic and quickly became a fan of their Heroine Chardonnay (my original review of Heroine Chardonnay is here).

So of course, I jumped at the chance to taste their current lineup and meet winemaker Birk O’Halloran and his partner Karl Antle from Iconic Wines on a crowded Times Square rooftop.

17 floors above Broadway, it’s much quieter without traffic but like fighting through a crowded, subway-car-like-bustle to get close to the wines being poured. Grabbing a plastic cup of pink wine, it would be easier to down it and ask for another like black and white movie scene featuring a gunfighter in a saloon. But this is an entirely new situation. So I sipped…at first… before asking Birk for another. And I understood why the line for the wine was wrapping down the side of the building past the bocce court to the elevators.

 

Birk

Birk O’Halloran, star winemaker, sporting (1) a bottle of Secret Identity rosé, (2) a bottle of Heroine chardonnay, and (3) a Jamie-Lannister-from-Game-of-Thones-styled-beard. Beard not for sale on line (currently) at http://www.IconicWine.com. 

 

Rose Front

Shhh! It’s so darn tasty, it’s a secret! 

Rose Back

Enter Secret Identity Dry Rosé 2015. MSRP is $18, and a mere 11% ABV, the winemaking details were a real surprise- the grape blend includes zinfandel and syrah! To the casual drinker, what you need to know is that this is a superbly dry, crisp, light, delicious rosé. You would be shocked to see an entire rooftop of NYC power-brokers drinking this, but believe me, they loved this wine as much as I did. It will rock with seafood, appetizers and light entrées but I doubt the bottle will last that long. It will delight your palate, disappear almost magically from your glass, and you will find yourself wishing you’d picked up several bottles.

In addition to Heroine and Secret Identity, Iconic has launched a new SK line- the Sidekick wines!

Iconic’s Sidekick or SK category, starting with SK (Sidekick) Chardonnay.

Sidekick Front

Sidekick back

 

2014 SK Sidekick Chardonnay, Napa, CA. MSRP $18, 13%ABV. Beautiful aromatics of honeysuckle, apricot and hay. The palate features stone fruit: crisp green apple and white pear with even acidity and a floral aftertaste. Stainless steel fermentation unlike their flagship Heroine Chardonnay which is matured in oak- because every hero needs a sidekick! A perfect introduction to California chardonnay, and a great primer for Heroine- to which you might become addicted. Yeah, I went there. And that’s how I treat bottles of Heroine Chardonnay in my cellar.

 

Iconic Wine 2014 SK Sidekick Cabernet Sauvignon. Because LODI! 

Iconic Cab front

iconic cab back

Lodi’s cabernet grapes are the star of this new wine for Iconic. Bold plum and blackberry lead on the front palate, followed with cassis and black earth. Silky tannins with notes of cedar, anise, granite and potting soil. Great on its own or with red meat, and at $18/bottle MSRP, it is a tremendous value- a real steal in California Cabernet!

Each time I have tasted Iconic’s wine, I have been impressed by the flavors, attention to detail, structure, and my overall enjoyment of their products. One of my surprises came when I included the 2013 Heroine Chardonnay in a neighborhood tasting where it was unanimously the public’s preferred wine in a tasting of pricey, worldwide options. I hope you take an opportunity to find their wines (currently in more than 37 of NYC’s finest restaurants) and other locations, found here.

I’m especially excited about Iconic’s relationship with Lodi in choosing great fruit for their wines. I have been a fan of Lodi for a while, but I the upcoming #WBC16 Wine Bloggers Conference. I will be participating with over a hundred other wine bloggers, meeting with Lodi winemakers, and tasting their wares.

Heroine Label

The Heroine Wine Label. What’s better than a superhero? A super Heroine!

à votre santé!

Three Winemakers to Watch and Their Perfect Summer Wines!

3 Jul

Three stunningly delicious white wines from three winemakers you need to have on your radar.

Thomas Houseman from Anne Amie, Elizabeth Clark from Airlie Winery, and Birk & Karl from Iconic Wine. 

Anne Amie Vineyards 2014 Cuvée A Amrita, Carlton, OR. $15 per bottle, 13.2% ABV.
Winemaker Thomas Houseman’s tribute to vinho verde, this is an under-the-radar Willamette Valley delight! A six-wine blend with (grapes listed from most-to-least) Pinot Blanc, Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Viognier, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer) from four vineyards in the Willamette AVA, this wine shows delightful aromatics of wildflowers, lavender, and honeysuckle along with a pale gold hue. In the mouth, it awakens the palate with an unusual approach of fresh berries, pear, pineapple, starfruit, apricot and quince. Far more fun than my usually desired Bordeaux blends and unequalled in essence, ‘Amrita’ means ambrosia- as in the nectar of the gods. I think they got this name right. Have a friend that loves white wine? This is the perfect gift bottle. Have a look at the classic, 19th century designs on some of these bottles. The kicker is, I thought all the wines I tasted from Anne Amie Vineyards were both excellent and impressive, but the Cuvée A was a delightful, inexpensive, no brainer that I immediately wanted to buy a whole case. BAM!

THouseman

AnnAmie

Seven White Blend 2014, Airlie Winery, Monmouth, OR. $15 per bottle, 11.9% ABV.
My palate told me I was tasting a high end blend from a classic chateau, so imagine my surprise when I found it was an blend from Oregon! Tasting winemaker Elizabeth Clark’s refined and delightful Seven White Blend changed my mind that Oregon’s best export is Pinot. I couldn’t’ believe that she makes this wine every year with similar results, and Clark explained to me that keeping a blend consistent from year to year is challenging. She contended that while there will be subtle variances in fruit profile each year, it is the fruit-to-acid ratio that is the key and always stays the same- providing the same wine profile wine with faint differences. It absolutely works, but don’t take my word for it: with such a fun and lovely wine at a low price per bottle, you won’t have enough to compare to next season unless you purchase by the case. A white wine lover’s go-to, you should find some before its gone. This lady is madly talented and her work is delicious- I truly enjoyed her other wines too, but the blend just knocked me for a loop.

Clark

Airlie0

Heroine Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2012, Iconic Wine, $29/bottle, 13.5% ABV.  Birk O’Halloran and Karl Antle are the winemakers who form the tiny company Iconic Wine. These guys flew in under my radar and it was a NYC somm who turned me on to their wines. When I saw the list of who is serving their wines, (think Daniel, Eleven Madison Park, Oceana, Blue Hill, Tribeca Grill just for a few!) I bought a couple of bottles. After tasting,  I wished I had purchased more! I served a bottle of Heroine Chardonnay to a group of ladies who adored it, and against six other wines that night, it was the clear winner. Focused citrus fruit melds delightfully with acid for an ideal mouthfeel, the finish shows salinity, and chalky limestone with just a hint of oak. A solid sense of terroir and personality from a wine that is so balanced and easy to drink it’s almost criminal…or Heroic! David White of Terroirist Wine blog did a great profile on Birk and you can find it here.

Their label is not only young at heart, but it’s refreshing. I’m a fan of classic, old world styles and labels, but I found this label unapologetic and entirely fun, much like their cork design, scribed with the image of a lightning bolt corkscrew.

Iconic

Heroine

I have yet to meet Birk & Karl in person, so I snagged this pic from their website (apologies to the unnamed photog), which I think shows their sense of humor and exuberance even at snooty wine events.

table+1

Who are the independent winemakers you’re following? Share with me, on JvB UnCorked! 

à votre santé!

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