Sparkle this Season

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample for review.

The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. So if you’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, and drink the 2010 Albert Mann Cremant d’Alsace.  It’s a delightful sparkler from a not as internationally recognized and therefore way less expensive French region.  We chose it to pair with a rather heavy chicken casserole the other night, and the brightness of the wine helped cleanse and refresh the palate.  The wine has a real cork closure, clocks in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $22.

Four takeways from this wine:

1.) There is excellent value to be found in French sparklers outside of Champagne.

2.) At a retail of just around $22, the Albert Mann makes an excellent addition to your holiday parties.

3.) It’s vintage. Where else might you find a vintage sparkler for this price?

4.) Yes, I’m focusing quite a bit on price, but really, can you beat it?

On the nose I found an herbal note, lemon, apple and pear.  On the palate I first noticed all the bubbles. The wine had tons and tons of bubbles.  In the mouth I got lemon, pear, salt, peaches, and a mineral streak. Overall I found the fruit to be tart and the wine to be refreshing, especially with the saline vein.

Wine and NASCAR??

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery to participate in a live tasting event.

I’ve never seen a NASCAR race.  I really don’t know much about it at all. It’s certainly never something I expected to come across in the context of writing a wine blog. Then a direct message arrived on Twitter asking me if I’d like to participate in a live tasting with Jeff Gordon and his new wine, the 2008 Jeff Gordon Joie De Vivre.  Color me intrigued and a bit skeptical.  The wine has a real cork closure and retails for $61.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Wine and NASCAR: not nearly the strange combo I imagined.

2.) The Joie De Vivre has one of those noses you can get lost in.

3.) In the glass the wine had so much going on that I had to keep coming back to my notes to add new descriptors.

4.) I am no longer a skeptic and this is definitely not just another celebrity wine.

On the nose I got flowers, chocolate, caramel, herbs, spice, blackberry, plum, and black cherry.  The nose on this wine is amazing.  Intriguing, multi-layered, and keeps getting better with air.  In the mouth I found black cherry, smoke, spice, herbs, mint, tobacco, more black cherries, toffee, toast, currants, and coffee notes.  The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah, a different choice for a blend.  Seeing the wine evolve over the time in the glass leads me to believe it could easily age in the bottle for many years to come.

 

 

Could it be lovelier?

 

 

 

 

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for Wines of Germany.

I think the answer is no. Generally I love Riesling. It’s a great, almost always, low alcohol wine with plenty of acidity, making it extremely food friendly for all different types of cuisine. With that in mind, we pulled the 2010 Schloss Johannisberger Grunlack Riesling Spatlese from the cellar the other evening to enjoy with a very heavy chicken casserole. The wine has a real cork closure, clocks in a 8.5% alcohol by volume, and looks to retail for around $40.

 

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Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Put the lime in the coconut… Okay, well perhaps not coconut, but lots of lime and something tropical lurk on the nose.

2.) This Riesling will perk up any boring holiday meal.

3.) For everyday eating I’m thinking this would be excellent with the Zuppa Toscana I make.

4.) One should never be intimidated by strange German wine labels because great things often lie within.

On the nose I found lime, honey, spice, sweet tropical notes, and flowers.  In the mouth I got lime, citrus, honey, flowers, honeysuckle, jasmine, and a great mineral streak. Overall the wine had excellent acidity, and as my notes say “was just lovely.”