What’s better than wine for breakfast?

Cute bit of marketing from Wines of Brasil.

*Disclaimer: Snooth provided transportation and boarding so I could attend this event.

Not much, really. Except perhaps Brazilian wine for breakfast which was a new wine experience for me. Not the wine for breakfast part, the Brazilian part. I suppose I vaguely knew that wine is made in Brazil, similar to how I know wine is made in Kansas, but I’ve never seen any in the market. It appears that Brazil’s largest market is in Russia, with the US coming in 3rd, but a very distant third.  Overall, Merlot is the dominant red grape with about 60% of the red wine produced being Merlot.

I’m always excited to explore a new to me wine region, and Brazil is no exception. The folks from Wines of Brasil brought a wide range of styles for us to try, from sparkling to dessert wine. Following are my notes, exactly as I typed them into my iPad, with only my spelling cleaned up.

The line up.

2010 Cave Geisse Nature sparkling- made in the Champagne Method, bright pear, acid, bread, slight cream, green apple, lots of acid, tart, definitely will wake up your taste buds, which was an excellent start to my day since I didn’t sleep well in the hotel the night before.

NV Casa Valduga 130: peppery, smokey,  yellow apple, Asian pear, seems like a little residual sugar, pear, apple, acidity, tight tart bubbles

2011 Salton Virtude Chardonnay: butter oak, coconut, pear, apple, light on the palate, slight butter, pear, apple.

2012 Lidio Carraro Dadivas Chardonnay: melon, tropical, pear, light, spice, herbs, very light, apple, pear. The winery uses no wood of any kind.

2009 Villagio Grando Chardonnay: herbs, dank, wet, stone, cement, green, earth, cedar, very herbal, pear, not a lot of fruit.

2007 Salton Desejo Merlot: bright red plum, raspberry, spice, herbs, chocolate, earth, dirt, very restrained, good fruit, earth, plum, the fruit is not the star of the flavors/aromas. No one would ever call them jammy.

2009 Pizzato Reserva Merlot: light, very reserved nose, earth, dirt, olives, herbal notes, salt, very earth drive, hardly any fruit.

2009 Miolo Merlot Terroir: more fruit than the previous wine, some raspberry, plum, wood, black cherry, tons of acidity, plum, earth, dirt, salt, dark fruit, more familiar as a Merlot, floral.

2009 Pizzato Fausto Verve: funky, black fruit, dark, plum, cherry blackberry, barnyard, herbs, dark, tannic, needs time.

2006 Lidio Carraro Grande Vindima Quorum: strawberry, floral, spice, herbs, cherry, spice, herbs, anise, woody, tannins, lovely nose,

2009 Perini Quatro: vanilla cream chocolate wood, oak lots of it, green under that, but the oak influence is really predominate, smooth, round, fruity, vanilla, cream, would easily appeal to the general North American palate. New world.

2007 Casa Valduga Villa Lobos: funk, earth, mint, eucalyptus, wood, spice herb, some black fruit, very dark, very tannic, needs age.

2008 Miolo Lote 43: chocolate dust, vanilla cream, lovely and floral, cherries, cream, cherry, raspberry, red fruit on the palate, nice mouthfeel, might be my favorite, really restrained austere fruit, mineral, a saltiness, the pieces are all there.

Pretty color on the Moscato.

NV Aurora Carnaval Moscato Rose: very sweet nose, definitely muscat, honey, sweet melon, overripe peach, less sweet in mouth, slightly frizzante, still a ton of peach of melon, could drink a tiny tiny glass, even though nice acidity. My mom would like this.

The standouts from this tasting for me were the NV Casa Valduga 130, the 2007 Salton Desejo Merlot, and the 2008 Miolo Lote 43. Overall I think the 2009 Perini Quatro would likely be the most successful wine in the typical US market.  I’d be very interested to check out more of the sparkling wines from Brazil as I thought they had quite a bit of potential.

Sometimes Size Matters

When we are talking about wine, that is. Large format bottles are fun to open when you have a big group over for tasting and they impact the way that wine ages in a bottle. I particularly enjoy large format bottles for sparkling wines, though I buy them with all sorts of wine inside. I think I currently have about a dozen Magnum format bottles in the basement, mostly of Petite Sirah (which often has great aging potential) and of sparkling wine. We busted one open when an old friend came to town recently.  After perusing the options, we settled on the 2000 Roederer Estates L’Ermitage Brut.  I purchased this wine directly from the winery a few years ago and it’s been resting alongside its siblings in our basement every since. I think it retails for around $100 for the bottle, but I can’t recall what I paid for it.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Having a Magnum of sparkling wine makes you feel like you actually got enough glasses as you can never have too much sparkling wine.

2.) I’ve had this wine in a regular sized bottle before. You can read my notes from that and compare here.

3.) Nearly 3 years later and the large format bottle (not sure which or if both of those factors contributed) gave this bottle a heft on the palate that I didn’t find before along with a creaminess.

4.) I need to drink more bubbles.

On the nose I got toast, bread, lemon, pear, and apple. In the mouth I found apple, toast, pear, yeast, and bread. Overall the wine had a heft and creaminess on the palate I really enjoyed, especially on the finish.

 

 

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.

Bring on the Bubbles!

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample.

Joy of joys, that time of year has returned where 4 pm on a Saturday rolls around and my thoughts turn to bubbly on the porch. In wine world, sipping bubbly on a perfect sunny afternoon outside is one of my favorite pleasures. This Saturday we turned to the 2008 Albert Mann Cremant d’Alsace. The Albert Mann retails for about $22, has a typical Champagne closure, and clocks in at 12.5% alcohol by volume.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) 105 degree weather + bubbles. Need I say more?

2.) At the price point it definitely doesn’t break the bank for an afternoon summer sipper.

3.) I was surprised by the red fruit notes on this wine.

4.) The nose was pretty simple. I was hoping for a bit more.

On the nose I found white flowers, strawberries, and a waxy note. In the mouth I got raspberries, strawberries, biscuit, and a slight honeyish note. Overall I found the wine to be crisp and refreshing with excellent acidity.

 

 

Popping a Cork: ‘The Devil’s Wine’

Mr. Wannabe Wino returns with a second installment!

Champagne has long been a favorite party drink, no doubt partly due to the theatrical nature of opening a bottle which results in a satisfying – POP! fizzle.  (Plinking an in-law with a cork from all the way across the room is only an added bonus…)  Originally created accidentally in the Champagne region of France, the effervescence was a byproduct of wine being bottled after cooler weather prematurely halted an incomplete fermentation process, which would resume with the onset of warmer weather.  With no place for the carbon dioxide produced as a fermentation byproduct to go, the pressure would cause bottles to explode, at times setting off a chain reaction sending glass shrapnel everywhere.  Twenty to ninety percent of the bottles could explode in a single cellar.  For this reason, the poor monks tending such bottles labeled the wine “le vin du diable,” or the Devil’s wine, and great efforts were undertaken to remove the offending bubbles.  Today, thankfully, the explosions only take place on our pallets, but the next time you sample a glass of your favorite champagne, spare a thought to those poor monks who risked their lives to help create such a celebratory treat.

Time to Sparkle!

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from F. Wildman.

Sorry for the radio silence! Christmas and my daughter’s first birthday being within 3 days of each other left me with little time to write.  Though plenty of occasions to raise a glass of bubbly and toast, which is what we did with the JJ Vincent Cremant de Bourgogne.   The JJ Vincent has a traditional Champagne closure, clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $20.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) We drank it on a Saturday afternoon, which just set the tone for a good day.

2.) It’s a great budget friendly option for bubbles.

3.) You can get a lot of bang for you buck looking outside of Champagne to some of France’s other sparkling wine regions.  In general, Cremant d’Alsace is a favorite of mine.

4.) In the coming year I hope to drink even more bubbly, as it always makes me happy.

On the nose I got lemon, yellow apple, pear, teething biscuit (am I showing my mom colors now?), and pineapple.  In the mouth I found very prominent apple, pineapple, and a melon finish.  Overall, the wine had nice acidity with a touch of sweetness on the finish.  With the low(er) alcohol content, this sparkler made a great start to a Saturday afternoon.

 

Sparkle Some More

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Natural Wine Merchants.

I have been all about the bubbles in the last couple of weeks. It must be the holidays. Picture me singing, totally off-key because I’m pretty tone deaf: “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…. .” Yes indeed, I have the holidays and sparklers on my mind. Tonight we tried the Pizzolata Fields Prosecco, which has a kind of cork that was part way in the neck of the bottle and part out…in any case, it took me forever and a day to open the bottle, it clocked in at 11% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $11.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Damn that cork was IMPOSSIBLE to get out. Removing it involved me whining and almost ready to slam the top of the bottle against some bricks.

2.) Other than the cork, this was an excellent Prosecco.

3.) $11. Need I say more?

4.) Bready with notes of candle wax and green apples, combined with fine bubbles, which rocks my world.

On the nose of the wine I got lemon, green apple, candle wax, and bread.  In the mouth I found notes of honey, lemon, and pear.  Overall I found the wine to be quite dry with tiny bubbles, though I would honestly describe it as more prickly than bubbly. At the price point, serve it at your next party or with dinner on Tuesday.

 

Sparkle this Season

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

Thursday of last week was the annual arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau from France. That is really not my thing, so I celebrated by drinking French wine, but not Beaujolais Nouveau.  The holidays tend to make people think of sparkling wine to toast at all the parties and belt-widening dinners and cookies. I’ve made a big effort the last few years to drink sparkling wine throughout the year, but must admit I still drink more of between now and January 1 than I do the rest of the year! We started out this season with the Jaillance Cremant de Bordeaux Cuvee de l’Abbaye.  The Jaillance has a traditional Champagne closure, clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $19.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) It’s never a bad thing when my first note for a wine is “yum.”

2.) The bready-yeasty notes just jumped out of the glass.

3.) If you greeted me at the door with a glass of this at your party I’d think you are awesome.

4.) I’m adding this to my list of sub-$20 house sparklers.

On the nose I got lemon, pear, yeast, sourdough, bread, and apple notes. In the mouth the yeast carried through with lemon, green apple, and pear. The wine had great acidity and bubbles. I was definitely happy with my selection to celebrate French wine!

 

Bubbles, Yum!

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR firm for the winery

Oh how I love bubbles! I even made my own bubbles with some of my blogger friends in 2009.  It was just disgorged and shipped to us recently, I’m excited to tell you about it. Back to the point though. Bubbles. And yummy bubbles. You can’t beat that.  I’m adding another wine to my Thanksgiving wine recommendations for 2011.  The wine n question is the Domaine Carneros Cuvee de la Pompadour.  It clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, has a traditional Champagne closure, and retails for about $30.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I didn’t want to stop drinking this wine to take my notes because I was afraid Mr. Wannabe Wino would take more than his share while I took notes.

2.) This wine would be perfect with your turkey. It’s a rose and it’s a sparkling wine, can’t beat that!

3.) I would easily pay $30 for this wine.

4.) In fact, I will on my next wine buying trip.

On the nose I got raspberry, florals, cherry, slight apple, and wax notes.  In the mouth I found peach, pear, raspberry, and strawberry. On the palate the peach stood out the most, and tasted very fresh. Overall the wine had great bubbles and acidity and is bone dry.

 

Getting my Bubbly Groove On

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Pasternak Imports

Here’s another bubbly favorite of mine. It’s as if Pasternak Imports packed up all my favorite NV bubbles into a box and shipped them to me. That’s the best kind of box to open up! This is another Lucien Albrecht bubbly, this time the Rose Cremant d’Alsasce. I buy this one at the Total Wine and More quite frequently as well and it’s another standard for me to recommend to anyone looking for a great moderately priced sparkler. It retails for about $16, clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, and has a traditional Champagne closure.

First I need to note that I love the color on this wine. It’s a lovely pale salmon. On the nose I got strawberry, raspberry, sourdough bread, and yeast. In the mouth I found fresh raspberries, like you picked them yourself and ate them off the bush, strawberry, cranberry, and tart cranberry sauce. You really can’t beat this sparkler for the price point.