Category Wine

Brandborg’s 2013 Elkton Oregon Gewurztraminer: A Review

Gewurztraminer is often considered a European-happy grape variety, especially when grown on the terroir of eastern France. Specifically, Alsace. Across the pond, Oregon can boast of only half the number of vines of Gewurztraminer (a mere 3,200 compared to Alsace’s 7,000) but Oregon holds its own in flavor, character, and nuance. Brandborg’s 2013 Elkton Oregon Gewurztraminer is a classic. Aromatic and explosive, this wine is not shy. Really, 14.1% is monstrous for a white, something akin to one of Orin Swift’s Napa concoctions. But don’t be deterred, as the wine is balanced and soft on the palate. A sip teases with opulent aromas of lychee and orange peel, evolving into… Read more »

2013 Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz: A review by Kelson Goldfine

The Barossa Valley is home to some of the great wines of South Australia. The 2013 Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz from the dry hills of Barossa packs a punch in a big way. The region remains untouched by phylloxera, the minuscule root louse that once threatened to destroy most of the world’s vineyards. Therefore many of the vines in the valley are considered “old vine” and grow grapes with more concentrated, complex flavors than that of young vines. Unctuous and spicy, the 2013 Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz is a mighty wine, unlike most popstar, fruity, smoky bottles of Shiraz. The bouquet is intense. Full bodied and creamy, the wine bursts with flavors… Read more »

Abbazia Santa Anastasia – Nero d’Avola 2014

I have a tendency to overlook red wine for white — a dangerous habit in a world where red wines are perhaps more popular and equally, if not more, delicious. Wines with anthocyanins, the compound from grape skin that makes red wines red, continue to demand my attention. Nero d’Avola is no exception. The first time I uncorked the Abbazia Santa Anastasia Nero d’Avola — the most widely planted grape variety on the Italian island of Sicily — I wanted to bow to the bottle. The 2014 Abbazia Santa Anastasia Nero d’Avola is a wine I will return to often. Among several other Sicilian red wines, Nero d’Avola is often imported to the United… Read more »

Sipp Mack Riesling Tradition 2014

I first discovered wine with picnics on a family trip to Northern Italy. Sitting on stoney beaches along the Western armpit of the Italian peninsula, we drank light, effervescent Prosecco with sliced tomato, cheese, and bread. I thought that light, snack-style meals required so-called “simple” wines like Prosecco and Cava. Recently, however, on an outdoors adventure to North Carolina, my mother and I sat back one evening to enjoy a picnic (inside a Motel room, away from the spring cold) of sharp cheddar, brie, pear, and prosciutto. We curiously chose the Sipp Mack Riesling Tradition 2014 from the Alsace region in France to accompany our meal, not knowing what to… Read more »

An Island Gem: Artemis Karamolegos Santorini Assyrtiko

This bone-dry, white wine from the Greek island of Santorini is made from the Assyrtiko grape, first cultivated among the island’s volcanic soils. The wine is golden in color and has a nose full of raisins and creamy lemon. Medium bodied, it is exceptionally rich for it’s kind, brimming with notes of orange and raisin, guided by tangy lemon zest and brackish water. The acid in this wine makes it a good candidate for aging if you’re looking for something to add to your cellar. Otherwise, consume this wine young and use it to soften deep fried dishes and seafood, or pair it with Greek cuisine, or even the meatiest… Read more »

Notre Dame de Cousignac Luberon: A Winter White

This inexpensive bottle of dry, French white wine heralds from one of the larger but lesser known appellations of the southern Rhône — Luberon. The wines of Luberon benefit from a more Mediterranean climate than their juicy brethren, such as the whites of Condrieu and Chateau-Grillet, or the rosés of Tavel. The vineyards are often at altitude and the temperature diurnals between night and day preserve the wine’s acidity despite the long, hot summers that ripen the grapes. Notre Dame’s de Cousignac’s Luberon is made from 70% Clairette, 25% Grenache Blanc, and 5% Bourboulenc, three of the eight possible white wine grapes of the Luberon appellation. The nose is crisp,… Read more »

Beaujolais Nouveau 2015

  Beaujolais Nouveau is a fresh, fruity, and inexpensive red wine released each year on the third Thursday of November. Made from handpicked Gamay grapes from the Beaujolais province of France, these wines were originally produced to celebrate then end of the harvest season. The day, and the wine, are widely celebrated in France with festivals, parades, and races and at midnight fireworks are launched to mark the release of the new wines. For decades, Beaujolais Nouveau had been released in France on the 15th of November and a race was created where the first bottles of the new vintage were carried to Paris for their release. Beaujolais Nouveau day has attracted international… Read more »

Réserve Grand Veneur Côtes du Rhône

  Let’s start off by saying that not all boxed wines are created equally! This Côtes du Rhône from Alain Juame & Fils is a great example of a boxed wine that can surely hold it’s own in comparison to it’s bottled brethren. Made up of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah this is a classic example of a Rhône Valley red wine. Right of the bat, this everyday red hits you up front with jammy fruits, very typical of the Grenache varietal. Allow the wine to open up and it will show the spiciness and darker fruits of the Syrah. Strong cracked black pepper notes are also prevalent through the finish,… Read more »

Masseria Salento ‘Sasseo’ Primitivo

The commanding bottle caught my eye well before I buckled down and bought one for myself — a regrettably long time since it drinks pleasantly above its $16.99 price point. Primitivo is (contentiously) thought of as Italy’s Zinfandel; genetic testing has proven this both true and false*. There are undeniable similarities between the grapes, but the regional stylings of Primitivo set it apart from the California Zins – smooth ripe red and black fruits, sweet tannins, and a solid amount of acidity recall its Southern Italian roots. Drink on its own or as a supreme complement to roast lamb or pepperoni pizza.   *Turns out they’re both clones of a rare Croatian varietal,… Read more »

Alfred Gratien Cuvée Brut Classique

Bubbles are not just for New Years Eve, friends. This refined sparkling wine haling from the world- renowned Epernay village in the Champagne region of Northeastern France is quite a value. It has the essence of exotic summer fruits derived from the Pinot Meunier grape blended with the body and elegance that Chardonnay offers. The Pinot Noir grape adds depth and enduring flavor. The bubbles are exceptionally fine with mousse that that lasts from sip to sip. The finish offers just a hint of brioche with just the right amount of citrus. A must-have for your next event calling for a toast. Pair with just about anything, especially light appetizers… Read more »