Humans have been cultivating wine grapes in this region for 4,000 to 5,000 years, which may help to explain why some of the world’s best values in wine can be found here. Another big part of the puzzle is that Spain is the third largest wine producer in the world (behind Italy and France) with yields greater than the USA and Australia put together. The final piece lies in these yields: Spain has more acreage devoted to vines than any other wine producing country, 15% of world acreage in 2010, but accounted for only 13% of world production (Italy, but way of contrast, has 11% of world acreage, but produced 17% of the world’s wine): lower yields essentially always result in better quality wine.
This month’s wines hail from the Tierra De Castilla y Leon and Manchuela DOs. Tierra de Léon is a Spanish Appellation of Origin (D.O.) for wines located in the south of the province of Leon in Castilla and Leon region, and covers an area of 3,317 km2 at an altitude of approximately 900 m above sea level. The area has a continental climate (long, hot dry summers; cold winters). Temperatures in winter often fall below 0°C and there is frequent frosts and fog. The soils are alluvial with a good drainage. Manchuela is located in south central Spain. The climate is continental (long hot dry summers, cold winters) influenced by the nocturnal moisture bearing winds from the Levant, which help keep the mean annual temperature down to 25°C. Temperatures in winter rarely fall low enough to cause frost. Humidity is very low and virtually no rainfall between the months of May and September. The soil is lime-bearing clay and the vineyards are at an altitude of 600 – 700 m above sea level.
Blue Bee Fanfare Cider
We are finishing up Cider Week here in Harrisonburg, and I thought there would be no better way than to start or Turkey Day prep with a lovely cider from Richmond, Virginia. Fanfare is a cider made with Pink Lady and Gold Rush apples and wild mulberries picked in Richmond.
Blue Bee says this cider is semi-sweet, though I suspect that for most it will be pretty dry. The aromatic profile is unique, reminiscent of lightly sour beers, such as berlinerweisse (think citrus notes). The cider has wonderful texture and...
Iluri Pinot Grigio
This wine comes to us Veneto Italy, which is prime Pinot Grigio territory. The winery sources quality fruit and produces their wine in Abruzzo. A classic food wine this 100% Pinot Grigio will not disappoint, with Thanksgiving or any meal. An intense bouquet of white fruits, ripe golden apples, and pears compliment the gentle acidity of this wine. A palete of ripe peaches and spice round everything out. The finish has a slight almond note which is a tell tell sign of quality Pinot Grigio.
Alain Jaume Gran Veneur Reserve Blanc
We’ve carried many of Alain Jaume’s wines over the years. I’ve always enjoyed the white wines from the northern Rhone, and this wine is no exception. The Domaine was founded by Mathieu Jaume in 1826. Alain Jaume now runs the Domaine with the help of his two sons Sébastien and Christophe. The estate is located in the commune of Orange and consists of 75 hectares. It covers four different appellations: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, Côtes-du-Rhône and Lirac. As of...
Dragani, Pinot Grigio
People are always asking for Italian Pinot Grigio. And not just this crowd, but all over America. In fact Pinot Grigio is the most imported white varietal to America.
This particular PG comes to us from Abruzzo, Italy. It’s region that is situated on the eastern side of Italy on the Adriatic Sea. Abruzzo is a very mountainous area of Italy, which cut it off from wine making influences of the rest of the country. Today Abruzzo is the fifth largest region for wine production in Italy.
Most of the wine that comes to...
Dr. Loosen Dry Riesling
The Dr. Loosen estate has been in the same family for over 200 years. When Ernst Loosen assumed ownership in 1988, he realized that, with ungrafted vines averaging 60 years old in some of Germany’s best-rated vineyards, he had the raw mate- rials to create stunningly intense, world-class wines. To achieve that, Ernst dramatically restricts crop size, uses only organic fertilization, insists on very strict fruit selection, and employs gentle cellar practices to allow the wine to develop its full potential with a...
Chateau de Valmer Vouvray
First owned by VII of France, Chateau de Valmer has been in the Venant family for four generations. They have made significant improvements to property including replanting a 14 acre parcel called Le Clos, which is the highest point on the property.
A lot of folks will associate Chenin Blanc with sweeter wines, but Loire produces Vouvray of every style. Including this lovely wine. Round yet crisp, is the best way to describe this wine. The nose shows aromas of crisp golden apple and white flowers. The palate is nice...
Charles Dupuy Sauvignon Blanc
Apologies for no picture. At the end of the day though it is all about what’s in the glass. And what this is folks is declassified Sancerre from the heart of one of Loire’s best regions for Sauvignon Blanc. You’ll remember a few tastings back we tried a Sancerre and Pouilly Fume. These wines are known for their great acidity, and a minerality you don’t find really anywhere else. Declassifying this particular wine allows Dupuy and us to introduce this kind of quality Sauvignon Blanc to a...
Well we are back after a little hiatus during the December push. We had an absolutely fantastic Christmas and obviously hope you did as well. The wines for this week’s tasting all hail from South Africa. We hope you enjoy and Happy New Year!
Bayten Sauvignon Blanc
So the actual name of the vineyard here is Buitenverwachting… Did you get that? Well the locals didn’t much care for it either and have taken to calling the vineyard Bayten for short. This is one of the oldest producers in South Africa. They’ve been making...
Laird Family ‘Big Ranch’ Sauvignon Blanc
The Laird Family has the distinction of being the largest family own producer in Napa Valley. Their Big Ranch Sauvignon Blanc is one of my absolute favorite Cali Sauvignon Blancs. 100% Stainless Steel fermentation. This one has a very alluring aromatic profile- think pineapple, asian pear, or honeysuckle. The palate is medium bodied with more tropical fruit flavors and a delicate undercurrent of flinty rocks and minerals. The finish is herbal and sustained. Pair with Asian cuisine. Would do well...
Rudi Weist Rein Riesling
Rudi Wiest has been importing German wines to the US since the mid-70’s. The goal always being to show the best that the German wine regions have to offer. This particular wine is selected and blended by Rudi Wiest himself from fruit sourced out of Rheinhessen. Fantastic green apple, lemon zest, and slate notes, with just enough sweetness to make it a real mouth and crowd-pleaser. Great with Indian and Asian cuisine.
Louis Max Beaucharme Chardonnay
Louis Max was founded in Burgundy by Evgueni Louis Max, a...