Reviews

Raats Red Jasper, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Grapes 81% Cabernet Franc, 13% Malbec, 2% Cabernet, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Merlot   Facts Cabernet Franc happens to be one of my favorite grapes. Unfortunately, good Cab Franc is rarely cheap, and cheap Cab Franc is rarely good. Somehow, Raats seem to have both of these bases covered. South Africa might be onto something here. Raats winery are big proponents of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. Now, maybe I’m missing something, but when I…

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Ridge, Three Valleys, Sonoma

Grapes 65% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah, 9% Carignane, 3% Mataro, 2% Alicante Bouchet,1% Grenache and a partridge in a pear tree.   Facts You know what I’ve always admired about Ridge? It’s that they manage to “do Zin” without making me feel like feeling I’ve just been molested by blackberries and alcohol. True story. The Ridge 3 Valleys in the only wine blended from multiple vineyards, rather than being sourced from one specific vineyard, in…

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Between the Seasons: Winter Red Wines and Spring White Wines

Just another small article I was asked to write for Jacksonville Magazine’s “Taste” edition… Winter Reds   Petite Petit, Lodi, California – $14.99 If you’re looking for a “little” something to warm yourself up during the colder months, there could possibly be no wine more fit for the purpose than Petite Petit. Named after its blend of Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot grapes, don’t be mistaken for thinking this is a “small” wine. Since Petite…

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Cremisan “Star of Bethlehem” White, Bethlehem, Palestine

    Grapes Hamdani and Jandali – Heard of them? No, me neither before today. Hamdani and Jandali grapes are native to Palestine. Facts I can’t lie, as much as I love drinking “off the beaten path” wines, reviewing them is a nightmare…primarily due to the lack of research available. I can’t exactly blame this winery though! I mean…they’re in Palestine. I was actually quite surprised they even had a website. The other reason I’m never…

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Helfrich Cremant d’Alsace, France.

Grapes 100% Pinot Blanc Facts Bubbles from Alsace! Who knew!?!? Well, me…but that’s only because I’m a nerd for this stuff. Seriously though, Alsace barely gets a look-in on most restaurant wine lists and even less on retailers’ shelves. Shame really, since they tend to be some of my favorite white wines coming out of France. Petition your local Sommelier, I say!!! The Helfrich family, even though they’re “old school Alsace,” and farming from some…

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Grape Expectations – Eight Wines that Pair With Summer and Fall.

Ok, first-things-first, I didn’t write the title for this article. “Grape Expectations” is way beyond my reaches of my creativity. Secondly; I wrote this article a couple of months ago for the Jacksonville Magazine “Taste” Edition…and I know we’re out of Summer now….but I think it still has relevance…since the weather here is Florida is so bloody-warm well into November! 4 Summer Wines Taltarni “Tache,” Brut Sparkling, Australia Description The term Tache (meaning “stained” in…

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Bock Kekfrankos, Villany, Hungary

            Grapes 100% Kekfrankos, otherwise known as Blaufrankisch, which is otherwise known as: “Errrrrmmmm….I have no idea how to pronounce that wine/grape…I’ll just have a glass of Merlot…”   Facts Holy hell! There’s very few times when I look at a wine label and think: “Yup! I’ve got no idea what I’m looking at here…” In-fact, the only recognizable thing on this label is Blaufrankisch, which you may-or-may-not have tried…

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Ogier Clos de L’Oratoire Chateauneuf du Pape, Southern Rhone, France.

Grapes 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Cinsault   Facts It’s been a little-while since I last had/reviewed a bottle of CdP (what the cool kids call it…or at least…what I call it). Chateauneuf-du-Pape isn’t for everyone – its intensity and “tertiary” flavors certainly take some getting use to – but I’d probably put it up there as my overall all-time favorite French wine region. Seven generations of winegrowers have tended to the…

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Kupljen “Spirit of Svetinje” White Wine Blend, Slovenia.

  Grapes 34% Chardonnay, 33% Renski Riesling, 33% Pinot Gris   Facts Ahhh yes! There’s nothing better than getting home from a hard day’s graft ( after staring at a computer for most of the day) than to kick off my shoes, and reaching for a bottle of Kupljen “Spirit of Svetinje” from the Jeruzalemsko-Svetinjske hills of north-eastern Slovenia… Ok, so that’s a lie. Firstly, I mainly work out of my house, so my shoes…

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Baldacci Cabernet, Stags Leap District, Napa Valley.

  Grapes 100% Cabernet   Facts There’s Napa and there’s Napa. The term “Napa Cabernet” is all too often used to refer to any wine that hails from “The Valley.” This rhetoric quite effectively tars all wineries with the same brush: from the behemoth brands, supplying many of the large grocery stores with their generic-tasting wine-flavored alcohol; all the way through to the small estate properties, producing miniscule quantities of truly hand-crafted wines each year….

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Domaine de Bernier Chardonnay, Loire Valley, France.

    Grapes 100% Chardonnay   Facts The Domaine de Bernier is a wine from the Couillaud brothers, who’ve had winemaking in their blood for six generations. I’m also envious when I read things like that! My wife for example, has U.S President Ulysses S. Grant as one of her ancestors.My family tree? Nonexistent! I mean it’s there (obviously), but I’ve got no “cool dead relatives” on my side of the family! I guess the…

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Fess Parker Viognier, Santa Barbara, California.

Grapes 80% Viognier (VEE-ohn-yay), 13% Marsanne, 5% Grenache Blanc, 2% Roussanne   Facts After just getting back from my time spent in Texas, and tasting a few Viogniers that the wineries had to offer, I was reminded how much I love this grape! I’ve always found that Viognier has a tendency to be forgotten about by the vast amount of the wine drinking public (me included), but truth-be-told it’s probably my favorite white grape…when it’s…

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