Varietally Correct – New World Cabernet Sauvignon

The best part of wine - drinking it!

The best part of wine – drinking it!

Wine consumers are often confused by wines made primarily from a single grape variety.  The bottles typically display the name of that variety on the label but there are a lot of them and more are created all the time as wine producers realize that such specificity can lead to higher margins and, perhaps, higher quality as well.  Here I focus on New World cabernet sauvignon, an excellent addition to any holiday table. Continue reading

Posted in General Interest | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Choices – Various Fizz and New World Pinot Noir

Ben WeinbergThanksgiving week begins the holiday season, which to me is all about spending time with family and friends.  So this week’s column is about two types of wine that go exceedingly well with special gatherings.  Today I’ve focused on various bubbly bottles, as well as a bunch of pinot noir recommendations, usually gathered from recent samples or at an industry gathering.  I include my tasting notes at the end of the column in shorthand that goes like this: appearance (if relevant)/aroma/taste/acidity & finish.  If I can find a domestic retail price then I list it (if there is more than one I err on the higher side), with “N/A” meaning that the wine is not generally available in the U.S.

I’d also like to apologize for the long delay between columns.  I’ve been somewhat overwhelmed by our recent move but those obligations seem to be sorting themselves out and I hope to finally be able to devote more time to my writing endeavors.  Onward! Continue reading

Posted in General Interest | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crazy-Ass Pinks and Ports with Wine On The Road

Ben, a glass of rose wine, and thou...

Ben, a glass of rose wine, and thou…

There are many great wines that don’t have gold-plated pedigrees.  Some may be made from unfamiliar varieties in well-known regions.  Others are produced from familiar grapes in unfamiliar locales.  One commonality they often have is that, because of uncertainty among the wine buying public, the consumer can pay less per bottle as compared to more standard offerings yet receive higher quality in return.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately writing about wine country trips and feel bad that I’ve neglected the basic premise of loving wine and drinking the good stuff.  So this week’s column is about various fun rosé and dessert wines that I’ve had the pleasure to recently taste, usually from samples or at an industry gathering.  I include my tasting notes at the end of the column in shorthand that goes like this: appearance (if relevant)/aroma/taste/acidity & finish.  If I can find a retail U.S. price then I list it, with “N/A” meaning that the wine is not generally available in the U.S.

Continue reading

Posted in General Interest | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Varietally Correct – Bordeaux and BDX-Style Blends

The best part of wine - drinking it!

The best part of wine – drinking it!

Wine consumers are often confused by bottlings that blend varieties.  There are many such wines and more are created all the time as wine producers realize that blending can lead to higher quality and, perhaps, better margins as well.  Here I focus on wines primarily made from at least two of the five most common Bordeaux varieties (cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot, and malbec), which all originated in France but are now grown around the world.

Familiarity and ease of pronunciation have helped to sell Bordeaux varietal wines to consumers, even when the bottles come from unfamiliar wine regions.  There is much to celebrate in the blending of these iconic grapes and they deserve a spot in your cellar. Continue reading

Posted in General Interest | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrate Walla Walla Wine with Wine On The Road

Welcome to Walla Walla!

Welcome to Walla Walla!

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Celebrate Walla Walla Wine Festival from June 17-21, 2014 in beautiful eastern Washington. I was invited by Duane Wollmuth and Heather Bradshaw of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance (www.wallawallawine.com), with this year’s fest specifically focused on the town of the same name as well as syrah, one of the many wine grapes that grow so well within this expansive area. Thanks to all of you who followed along live with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Foursquare (I used @WWValleywine and @WinesofWA as handles in addition to my own @WineOnTheROad, and also the hashtags #WAUnfiltered and #WAWine). Continue reading

Posted in Touring Washington | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Aldo Vacca’s Nebbiolo Tutorial Part II

Aldo Vacca and Ben near the Tower of Barbaresco in Piedmont

Aldo Vacca and Ben near the Tower of Barbaresco in Piedmont

While I’ve already reported extensively on last fall’s Piedmont Unfiltered consumer trip (go to www.wineontheroad.com for details on all of my upcoming wine country tours), the videos I took during our visit with Aldo Vacca, legendary winemaker at Produttori del Barbaresco (to my mind the best wine cooperative in the world), including his musings on the history of Barbaresco in general and Produttori in particular, make for compelling viewing by anyone with a deep interest in the vine. Continue reading

Posted in General Interest, Touring Piedmont | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Varietally Correct – California Chardonnay

So much chardonnay in california

So much chardonnay in california

Chardonnay from California is a great example of a varietal bottling, a wine made primarily from a single grape variety that usually displays the name of that variety on the label. This column focuses on the best Cali chards that I have recently had the pleasure to sample. Continue reading

Posted in General Interest, Touring Napa, Touring Sonoma | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wine On The Road in Piedmont, Italy, with BITEG

A dish at La Gerla in Turin, Piedmont, Italy

A dish at La Gerla in Turin, Piedmont, Italy

I’ve recently concluded a ten-day excursion to Piedmont, Italy, at the behest and with the support of Sviluppo Piemonte Turismo (a governmental tourism board of Piedmont) for the annual BITEG 2014 tourism conference (www.biteg.it).  In my capacity as Chief Wine Sherpa for Wine On The Road, I was one of BITEG’s International Hosted Buyers.  We focused on wine, food, and other elements of this region’s rich experiential tourism scene, and as a result we were able to access behind-the-scenes experiences not available to the general public (for more information on WOTR tours, including upcoming visits to Campania and Piedmont in Italy, as well as Oregon and Washington in the U.S., call me at 303-522-6738, email benweinberg@wineontheroad.com, or go to www.wineontheroad.com). Continue reading

Posted in Touring Piedmont | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Last Chance to Tour Campania, Italy, with Wine On The Road

Even Mt. Vesuvius wants you to join me in Campania!

Even Mt. Vesuvius wants you to join me in Campania!

If you are interested in touring the renowned wine region of Campania, including the bustle of Naples and the hallowed ground of Pompeii, in luxury and style, this is your last chance to join Il Posto Restaurant’s Chef/Owner Andrea Frizzi and me in that special part of southern Italy from September 14 – 21, 2014.  The deposit deadline is May 31, 2014, and you are welcome to visit www.wineontheroad.com/campaniaunfiltered.php for more details, including pictures, videos, additional important information, a preliminary itinerary, and a booking form.

This trip will focus on visiting wineries with which Andrea and I have special relationships, the result of which allows us to access behind-the-scenes experiences not available to the general public (for more information on all of WOTR’s tours call me at 303-522-6738, email benweinberg@wineontheroad.com, or go to www.wineontheroad.com).  I include my notes for recently tasted bottles from this region at the end of the column without notes (which are available in earlier columns).  If I can find a retail U.S. price then I list it, with “N/A” meaning that the wine is not generally available in the U.S.  The column itself is structured as a travelogue that closely follows the tour’s preliminary itinerary.

TOURING WITH WOTR SURVEY QUESTION

One final item – I have prepared a quick (three question) survey for which I would very much appreciate your participation.  The response deadline is May 31, 2014, and in honor of my upcoming Campania Unfiltered tour, I will randomly choose one lucky responder to receive a perfectly stored, ready to drink bottle of Taurasi, the most famous red wine to hail from Campania.  Here’s the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SH625TS

Campania

The Radici Resort, our lodgings for the entire tour.

The Radici Resort, our lodgings for the entire tour.

Campania has a population of approximately 5.8 million people making it the second-most-populous as well as the most densely populated region in Italy.  Originally colonized by ancient Greeks, Campania is rich in culture, especially gastronomy, music, architecture and archaeology, including ancient sites such as Pompeii, Herculaneum, Paestum and Velia.  The Romans knew the region as Campania felix, which translates into English as “fertile countryside.”  Rich natural beauty makes Campania highly important in the tourism industry, especially along the Amalfi Coast, Mount Vesuvius and the island of Capri.  The capital city is Naples.

The food of Campania is varied but the most famous is savory, lush Mozzarella di Bufala.  Babà cake is a well-known Neapolitan delicacy, best served with rum or limoncello, a liqueur invented on the Sorrento peninsula.  Campania also produces many wines from indigenous varieties, including Lacryma Christi, Fiano, Aglianico, Greco di Tufo, Pere ‘e palomma, Ischitano, Taburno, Solopaca, and Taurasi.  All were on prominent display during my stay in this vivid, fascinating place.

Taurasi

A wine barrel at Masseria Felicia

A wine barrel at Masseria Felicia

There are 17 black volcanic peaks which ring the villages along the Calore River that are allowed by law to label their locally produced Aglianico with the protected trade name of Taurasi. There is an actual village called Taurasi at the heart of the DOCG, but this is only one of the towns that are allowed to use the name.  This sub-form of Aglianico is, along with Piedmont’s nebbiolo, the latest harvested grape in Italy.

Preliminary Itinerary

Sunday, September 14—Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Italy Campania - Mastroberardino Olive Trees - 03-13Our well-appointed Wine on the Road van meets us at Naples International (Capodichino) Airport or the Avellino train station for the beautiful drive to our lodgings at the Radici Resort in the heart of wine country.  There we are greeted with a welcoming aperitivo and tastes of local specialties.  After settling in, Andrea joins the resident chef for a cooking class that focuses on the best of this region’s specialties and techniques, and then we dine in the hotel’s gorgeous dining room with its stunning views.

The next day we head to Benevento, one of the villages and associated sub-regions that help define this wine producing area.  Visited wineries include modern Venditti, where much research is being done on grape varieties, and historic Mustilli, whose sister-owners take great pride in the fact that their father reintroduced Falanghina, an iconic white wine grape that is now grown throughout Campania.

Tuesday brings a morning tour of Caserta, famous for its palace and special Mozzarella di Bufala, followed by some free time in this special town.  Our afternoon tastings take place at two contrasting wineries: modern Masseria Felicia and traditional Trabucco.

Wednesday, September 17—Thursday, September 18

The ghosts of Pompeii

The ghosts of Pompeii

Wednesday is devoted to exploring Campania’s rich historical tradition, starting with a “Great Pizzas” tour of Naples (where this iconic dish was invented) followed by a privately hosted visit to Pompeii, where we are led through this landmark excavation by the best guide in the business.  Dinner that evening involves a special tasting menu at our hotel.

The next day we return to our intensive wine agenda by visiting Basilicata and Irpinia, two regions focused on the aglianico grape that are located not more than 40 km apart in the Apennine Mountains near the town of Avellino.  A highlight is our visit to Molletiere, one of the most widely distributed wineries in all of Campania.

Friday, September 19—Saturday, September 20

More barrels...

More barrels…

Taurasi is, along with Piedmont’s nebbiolo, the latest harvested grapes in Italy.  Many special wineries produce Taurasi and we will visit several, including world-famous Contadina and Monte Faliese.  Saturday we spend in and around the town of Avellino, not far from the Taurasi vineyards.  Here we tour and taste at the best, most famous wineries in all of Campania: Terredora di Paolo, Feudi di San Gregorio, and in particular Mastroberardino, which also owns the Radici Resort.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Wine on the Road van transports us back to Naples International (Capodichino) Airport and we wish each other arrivederci … until we see one another again!

Come Fly With Me!

Hanging at Mastroberardino

Hanging at Mastroberardino

There’s no doubt that Campania produces fabulous wines at very reasonable prices.  One of the region’s advantages is that it is quite compact, with most wineries within an hour’s drive of each other.  However, in the absence of first-hand experience, a good guide is essential when trying to maximize positive vinous experiences.  So check out some of these wine recommendations and please let me know what you think.  I’m pretty sure you’ll come away impressed.  And if you want more information on Campania Unfiltered or any of Wine On The Road’s other extraordinary destinations, call me at 303-522-6738, email benweinberg@wineontheroad.com, or go to www.wineontheroad.com.

Thanks again to everyone who has helped turn Wine on the Road’s tours into such a smashing success.  I hope to see you very soon in wine country.

 

BEN IS TOURING CROATIA IN SEPTEMBER!

Ben WeinbergWine On The Road’s Chief Wine Sherpa Ben Weinberg will be spending a few days in Croatia prior to heading back to France and then Italy for a couple of choice WOTR tours.  Be sure to follow Ben on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for live travel updates as he heads from Dubrovnik to Zagreb.

 

WINE, BEES, AND CHEESE IN PIEDMONT, ITALY, WITH FARM-TO-TABLE EXPERT JILL PARADIS AND WINE EXPERT BEN WEINBERG

A Wine On The Road tour group at M. Abbona in Piedmont

A Wine On The Road tour group at M. Abbona in Piedmont

This seven-day “Wine, Bees, and Cheese” tour of Piedmont, Italy, is an intensive travel experience punctuated by frequent tastes of the region’s best food, wine, and culture. Traveling with farm-to-table expert Jill Paradis and wine writer Ben Weinberg, you’ll receive warm welcomes from each iconic producer and enough face-to-face time to discuss the history of each product as well as plans for the future. All represent generations of commitment to quality and respect for their lands and communities.

Price is $6,995 per person, paid in U.S. funds ($), based on double occupancy for between eight-and-twelve paid attendees, land only, excluding airfare, gratuities and other optional activities. Maximum group size is twelve adults of legal drinking age.  For additional information on this extraordinary touring opportunity, or to download the Preliminary Itinerary and Booking Form, go to www.wineontheroad.com/winebeesandcheeseinpiedmont.php.

 

OREGON WINE TASTING IN THE DAVIDSONS LIQUORS CELLAR ROOM: FRIDAY, MAY 30, 3:00 – 6:00 P.M.

Davidsons Liquors

Davidsons Liquors

Don’t miss this extraordinary Oregon wine tasting opportunity being presented at no charge in the Cellar Room at Davidsons Liquors, 5555 Boatworks Dr. Highlands Ranch, CO 80126, with Davidsons’ Fine Wine Specialist Aaron Mayher and Wine On The Road’s Chief Wine Sherpa Ben Weinberg.  For more information please go to www.davidsonsliquors.com, or call the store at 303-224-0444.

 

OREGON WINE COUNTRY WITH DAVIDSONS LIQUORS: MAY 15-19, 2015

Domaine Drouhin Oregon vineyards in the Willamette Valley

Domaine Drouhin Oregon vineyards in the Willamette Valley

Davidson’s Fine Wine Specialist Aaron Maher, who leads this tour with his special knowledge of Oregon wines, and Davidsons Liquors have partnered with international wine writer Ben Weinberg and Wine on the Road to offer this extraordinary opportunity. This is the ultimate in wine-focused, behind-the-scenes wine country experiences, combining award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor.

Price is $2,995 per person, paid in U.S. funds ($), based on double occupancy for between 16-and-24 paid attendees, land only, excluding airfare, gratuities and other optional activities.  For additional information on this extraordinary touring opportunity, or to download the Preliminary Itinerary and Booking Form, go to www.wineontheroad.com/oregonwithdavidsons.php.

 

UPCOMING COVERAGE: CELEBRATE WALLA WALLA WINE

Ben will be covering the upcoming Celebrate Walla Walla Wine Festival from June 17-21, 2014, in beautiful eastern Washington.  Follow along live with Ben on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Foursquare, and be sure to check out his Wine On The Road column after the event.

 

SEATTLE AND EASTERN WASHINGTON WINE COUNTRY: MAY 22-26, 2015

The view from Col Solare (Red Mountain, WA)

The view from Col Solare (Red Mountain, WA)

International wine writer Ben Weinberg and Wine on the Road offer this extraordinary opportunity as the ultimate in wine-focused, behind-the-scenes wine country experiences, combining award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor.

Price is $2,995 per person, paid in U.S. funds ($), based on double occupancy for between 16-and-24 paid attendees, land only, excluding airfare, gratuities and other optional activities.  For additional information on this extraordinary touring opportunity, or to download the Preliminary Itinerary and Booking Form, go to www.wineontheroad.com/washingtonunfiltered.php.

 

PORTLAND AND THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY WITH THE VINEYARD WINE SHOP

The Vineyard Wine Shop

The Vineyard Wine Shop

The Vineyard’s Wine Consultant Jordan Garcia, who leads the tour with his special knowledge of Oregon wines, and The Vineyard Wine Shop have partnered with international wine writer Ben Weinberg and Wine on the Road to offer this extraordinary opportunity. This is the ultimate in wine-focused, behind-the-scenes wine country experiences, combining award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor.

Price per person is $2,995, based on double occupancy for between 16-24 paid attendees, land only, excluding airfare, gratuities and other optional activities. Maximum group size is 24 adults of legal drinking age.  For additional information on this extraordinary touring opportunity, or to download the Preliminary Itinerary and Booking Form, go to www.wineontheroad.com/oregonwiththevineyard.php.

 

WINE ON THE ROAD’S LUXURIOUS, BEHIND-THE-SCENES WINE TOURS

Wine On The Road

Wine On The Road

With Wine On The Road (www.wineontheroad.com), my wine-focused touring company, you can enjoy the ultimate wine country excursion with special access to top winemakers and their incomparable wines.  Wine On The Road offers intimate wine country tours that combine award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor.  We lodge at excellent and luxurious wine country estates (in the past we’ve occupied ancient yet completely restored castles as well as five-star resorts, all with modern amenities).  We eat at amazing local restaurants and visit wineries that embody the best, most authentic expressions of local wine grapes.

Planned excursions in late 2014 include a combined visit to Champagne and Burgundy and another to Italy’s Campania (www.wineontheroad.com/campaniaunfiltered.php).  Early 2015 tours include Piedmont, Italy (www.wineontheroad.com/winebeesandcheeseinpiedmont.php), Oregon’s wine country (in conjunction with Davidson’s Liquors, www.wineontheroad.com/oregonwithdavidsons.php), Seattle and Eastern Washington (www.wineontheroad.com/washingtonunfiltered.php), and then Oregon again (in conjunction with The Vineyard Wine Shop, www.wineontheroad.com/oregonwiththevineyard.php).  You can learn more about these trips, book private groups in wine country world-wide and request more information on any of these extraordinary travel experiences by visiting www.wineontheroad.com, emailing me at benweinberg@wineontheroad.com, or calling me at 303-522-6738.

 

Recommendations

Sparkling

Venditti Il Poggio Primus Albus Vino Spumante NV (Campania, Italy) $40

Mustilli Sparkling Falanghina Brut NV (Campania, Italy) $N/A

 

White

Venditti Falanghina DOC 2011 (Campania, Italy) $20

Trabucco Falerno del Massico 16 Marzo White Wine DOC 2011 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Masseria Felicia Falerno del Massico Bianco Anthologia DOC 2011 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mustilli Fiano Sannio DOC 2011 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Fattoria la Rivolta Greco di Tufo Taburno Sannio DOC 2011 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Selvanova Pallagrello Bianco Acqua Vigna DOC 2008 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mustilli Greco di Tufo DOC 1977 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Feudi di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo DOCG 2011 (Campania, Italy) $15

Terredora di Paolo Greco di Tufo Loggia Della Serra DOCG 2011 (Campania, Italy) $17

Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio White 2012 (Campania, Italy) $19

Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo 2012 (Campania, Italy) $23

Mastroberardino Falanghina Morabianca 2011 (Campania, Italy) $20

 

Rosé

Mastroberardino Lacrimarosa 2011 (Campania, Italy) $18

 

Red

Trabucco Falerno del Massico Rapicano Red Wine DOC 2011 (Campania, Italy) $37

Masseria Felicia Falerno del Massico Etichetta Bronze Rosso DOC 2008 (Campania, Italy) $33

Fattoria la Rivolta Aglianico del Taburno Riserva Terra di Rivolta DOC 2008 (Campania, Italy) $35

De Conciliis Paestum Aglianico Naima DOC 2006 (Campania, Italy) $45

Vestini Campagnano Poderi Foglia Terre del Voltuno Pallagrello Nero DOC 2009 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Papa Falerno del Massico Primitivo Campantuomo DOC 2008 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Nanni-Cope Sabbie di Sopra Il Bosco IGT 2010 (Campania, Italy) $54

Terre de Principe Casavecchia Centomoggia DOC 2007 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mustilli Aglianico DOC 1988 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasi Riserva Piano di Montevergine DOCG 2007 (Campania, Italy) $71

Colli di Castelfranci Alta Valle Taurasi DOCG 2007 (Campania, Italy) $45

Masseria Murrata Taurasi Passione DOCG 2007 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Tenuta Cavalier Pepe Taurasi Opera Mia Campione di Botte DOCG 2009 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Contrade di Taurasi Taurasi Coste DOCG 2008 (Campania, Italy) $75

Antichi Coloni Taurasi Centaurus DOCG 2008 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Molettieri Salvatore Taurasi Renonno DOCG 2008 (Campania, Italy) $75

Antica Castello Aglianico Irpinia Magis DOC 2008 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Terredora di Paolo Aglianico Pago dei Fusi DOC 2006 (Campania, Italy) $60

Mastroberardino Taurasi DOCG 1952 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva DOCG 1961 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva DOCG 1970 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mastroberardino Taurasi DOCG 1985 (Campania, Italy) $85

Mastroberardino Taurasi DOCG 1996 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva Radici DOCG 2006 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Red 2012 (Campania, Italy) $15

Mastroberardino Aglianico 2010 (Campania, Italy) $23

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici 2007 (Campania, Italy) $50

Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva Radici 1999 (Campania, Italy) $70

 

Dessert

Mastroberardino Fiano Passito Melizie 2010 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mastroberardino Aglianico Passito Antheres 2009 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mastroberardino Aglianico Passito Halconero 2008 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Posted in Touring Campania | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Varietally Correct: Bordeaux Varietal Red Wines from the New World

Red Bordeaux varieties on the vine in the Napa Valley

Red Bordeaux varieties on the vine in the Napa Valley

Wine consumers often are confused by varietal bottlings (wines made primarily from a single grape variety that typically display the name of that variety on the label).  There are many varietal wines and more are created all the time as wine producers realize that such specificity can lead to higher margins and, perhaps, higher quality as well.

Here I focus on single varietal red wines made in the New World from four of the five primary red grapes that originated in Bordeaux, France: cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, and malbec (I have not recently tasted a varietal petit verdot and so there is no such recommendation below).  Each grape has its own strengths and weaknesses, and only rarely in Bordeaux are bottles filled with only one of them.  Blends are an integral part of the process in much of Europe, but in other wine producing areas there has long been a trend toward separating out each strain.  The bottles listed below reinforce this point, with the most popular grape overall (cabernet sauvignon) comprising most of the recommendations. Continue reading

Posted in General Interest | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment