Monthly Archives: February 2009

Drinking the 2005 Casa Silva Quinta Generacion from Chile

Casa Silva is currently owned by fifth generation family members thus the name of the wine, Quinta Generacion. Mario Silva currently leads the efforts now that his ancestor and French wine pioneer Emilio Bouchon started in 1892. Prior to 1997 Casa Silva was primarily selling their juice in bulk before they decided to revamp their wine program and went to an estate bottling program that has brought them various acclaim. Coming from the Colchagua Valley in Chile the 2005 Quinta Generacion is made up of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Carmenere, 25% Syrah, and 15% Petit Verdot. All hand picked and presorted before de-stemming the wine was aged for 13 months in new French Oak.

2005quintageneracionMy Tasting Notes

Nose – blackberry, black cherry, pine, anise and menthol

Taste – blackberry, smoke and cherry

Mouthfeel – medium bodied, very smooth with rich velvety tannins and a hit of spice

Finish – medium to long in length, nice and fruity

This is a super solid blend that is ready to drink now and at $25 isn’t a bad price for the quality it delivers. I had it with a casserole filled with veggies and cheddar and goat cheeses but it would work well with various meat dishes. Although a bit pricey to not pair it with a meal and just treat it as a “cocktail” wine, it is smooth enough that you could enjoy by itself. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.


Categories: $20-$30, Chile, wine review | 1 Comment

Tuesday Quick Sip: 2005 Cartlidge & Browne Cabernet Sauvignon – Snow Lake Vineyard, Red Hills Lake County

Wine Info

Appellation – Red Hills, Lake County

Vineyard – Snow Lake

Grape – 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, clone 337 and 15

Aging – 60% American, 40% French for 17 months

Price – $23

2005cbcabernetlakecountyMy Tasting Notes

Color – deep garnet

Nose – black tea, boysenberry, cherry, toast, caramel

Taste – cedar, cassis, oak, blackberry, cherry, vanilla

Mouthfeel – slightly spicy with full roundness leading to leathery tannins

Finish – long and dusty

For a solid Cab in the $20 – $25 range this one definitely fits the bill. Classic Cab flavors and a big full body with well structured but not overpowering tannins. We had the 2005 Cartlidge & Browne Cabernet with a rich “green and white” lasagna and it paired very well.


Categories: $20-$30, cabernet, wine review | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Virginia Wine Legislative Update

From Matt Conrad at the Virginia Wine Council:

This week promises to be very hectic, with a great many bills moving toward ultimate passage or meeting defeat in committee or on the floor. I am happy to report, however, that as of TODAY HB2071 has been passed by the Senate! Our companion legislation that also deals with the agricultural nature of farm wineries’ activities, SB1033, is still before the House of Delegates, but is on the calendar as an uncontested bill on third reading.

SB1445, relating to wine-of-the-month clubs, has been reported out of the House General Laws committee on a vote of 19 to 2, with Delegates Carrico and Hull being the only dissenters. As of today, it was on its second reading on the House floor and will likely be voted on later in the week when the House takes it up with other Senate bills on third reading.

HB2523, the legislation relating to ABC licenses that was successfully amended at the VWC’s request, has been further amended on the Senate floor at the recommendation of Senators Puller and Stolle. The Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute amends the bill by defining the particular crimes that must be committed on the premises of an ABC licensee to establish a violation suitable for suspension or revocation. Those enumerated crimes include manslaughter, terrorism, abduction, driving under the influence, and disorderly conduct, among others. HB2523 passed the Senate with these amendments on a vote of 28 to 10. A conference committee will be formed to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.”


Categories: virginia wine, wine industry issues | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Wine Blogging Wednesday #54: A passion for Piedmont

wbwlogoWelcome to Wine Blogging Wednesday #54: A passion for Piedmont whose host is David McDuff of McDuff’s Food & Wine Trail. Well of course I am totally stoked as Piedmont or Piemonte is one of my favorite wine regions to sip wines from as well as one of my favorites to visit. The rules for this WBW were simple, just pick any wine from the Piedmont region of Italy, sip it and write about it! It can be one of the powerful Nebbiolo based varietals such as Barolo or Barberesco or it can be the aromatic Arneis. I chose to write about Barbera, the work horse grape of the region that along with it’s little brother Dolcetto, find themselves on dinner tables in the region more often than not. The wine itself was the 2005 Marco Porello Barbera d’ Alba Filatura ($17). From the Filatura vineyard in the village of Canale comes this Barbera that is comprised of 100% of the grape. Unlike Barberesco and Barolo that are from the same grape and named for their respective regions, Barbera and Dolcetto are named for the grapes themselves.

From the winemaker:

The vineyards are from 30 to 50 years old. The south-west sun exposure of the vineyard, the medium mixture soil with a good percentage of clay allow a very good ripening of bunches. The grape harvest takes place normally at the beginning of October. The wine making processes used are the following: grapes destemming and crushing, fermentation at controlled temperature for 10/12 days and racking off. The wine is afterwards poured into wooden barrels where it finishes its alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. The wine is improved in barriques (with a good relation new/used ones according to the characteristics of the year) for 12/14 months. The production is of around 6,000 bottles. After the bottling the wine rests for some months before being commercialized.”

I always enjoy Barbera, because you get a little more oomph than a Dolcetto but don’t spend that much more money, although Barbera’s can get up in the $30-$40 range. One in particular that I wrote about a few months ago was in that price range but drank more like a Barolo than a Barbera so the price was warranted.

marcoporello_barbera_labelMy Tasting Notes –

Nose – cherry, raspberry, rhubarb

Taste – cherry, red currant, vanilla, dry dusty earth

Mouthfeel – medium body, fairly “full” feeling for a Barbera with good acidic back end

Finish – medium length, dusty to velvety tannins

This was a pretty good Barbera d’ Alba, nothing screamingly exciting about it but it was varietally correct displaying the classic aroma and taste profiles. At the $17 price tag it is definitely a buy and would go great with classic northern Italian or Mediterranean cuisine or would even be a nice splurge for a pizza night.

Thanks again to David for hosting this months WBW! Cheers!

Categories: $10-$20, barbera, piemonte, Wine Blogging Wednesday, wine review | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

An $11 wine that knocked my socks off!

In these tough economic times everyone is looking for more value for their dollar and wine is no exception. There are a TON of wines out there under $10 and many of them are quite good, I am actually working on an article for a local newspaper on 5 good wines under $10. But finding a GREAT wine in the $10 range is harder but definitely attainable, enter the 2005 Santa Martina Toscana Rosso. At $11.50 (less on the internet) this IGT certified blend of 40% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 20% Syrah gives you plenty of bang for your buck. Unfortunately I can’t find any web presence for the wine other than retail so I don’t have any more detail on the wine.

2005santamartinaMy Tasting Notes –

Nose – barnyard, earth, raspberry, cedar

Taste – “barny”, dusty, red currant

Mouthfeel – medium body, ripe acidity and full leathery tannins

Finish – long with red fruit flavors

We had this with tofu parmesan topped with a light tomato sauce and a side of sauteed asparagus. It paired very well, with the acidity in the wine really complimenting the acidity in the tomato sauce. Although the tannins were good and leathery they weren’t overpowering and the combination of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses helped to smooth them out. I had heard good things about this wine but I didn’t expect it to have so many layers of red fruit and good funky earthiness and a complex mouthfeel, I was very impressed. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to Chianti or Super Tuscans check this out, it seems to have a good distribution so you shouldn’t have trouble finding it.

Categories: $10-$20, wine review | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Tuesday Quick Sip – 2005 Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel

Wine Information

Vineyards – Amador county appellation; average age of 45 year old head pruned vines

Grape – 100% Zinfandel

Aging- 15 months in oak; 23% new American Oak, 77% 2-3 year old French and American Oak

Price – $15

2005renwoodzinMy Tasting Notes

Nose – dried cherries, chocolate, blackberry, raisin

Taste – raspberry puree, blackberry, fig, cherry, nutmeg

Mouthfeel – medium to full body, spicy with dry dusty tannins

Finish – long and spicy with a hint of espresso at the end

The 2005 Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel is a great expression of what Zinfandel in this price range can be. For $15 it shows lots of dark fruit and “raisiny” goodness without being overly jammy or extracted. Great spiciness through the whole palate and firm tannic structure help balance out the fruitiness of the wine. Although a great value Zin, it may be a bit much for an everyday drinker but would great with pizza, barbecue, or grilled foods.


Categories: $10-$20, wine review, Zinfandel | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Hendry’s little brother – 2006 HRW Zinfandel

HRW” is a fairly new line of wines from Hendry that offers some value to their brand, priced at around half of what the big brother costs. The wines are blends of the leftover juice from their single block wines, that for whatever reason wasn’t “good enough”. The 2006 HRW Zinfandel ( $18 ) is a blend of juice from their Block 7&22 and the Block 28 Zinfandel. The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in French Oak for 12 months. Approximately ten percent of the oak was new with the remaining being one, two and three year old Zinfandel barrels.

2006hrwzinMy Tasting Notes –

Nose – prune, plum, blackberry, smoke

Taste – black cherry, raisin, plum and cocoa

Mouthfeel – medium to full body, dusty tannins and spicey

Finish – quite long with dusty dry tannins and dark fruit flavors

We drank this with some grilled food and redskin potato salad during this unseasonably warm weather Richmond was having this weekend. The pairing worked out well with the smoky notes really coming out with the smokiness of the grilled food. I really enjoy the Hendry “Zins” but have a hard time popping a $30-$40 bottle of wine on a daily basis or to have at a cookout. The HRW line gives you the quality you expect from Hendry with slightly less complexity, in a rocking Napa Zin.


Categories: $10-$20, wine review, Zinfandel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Taking a trip to Tuscany – 2004 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

vinonobiledimontepulciano_mapFrom the land of Tuscany comes the 2004 Corte alla Flora Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG. The name for the wine comes not from the nobility of the grape, but from the nobility of the people who drank it– popes, poets and other noblemen. The main grape for the wine is Prugnolo Gentile, another name/clone of the Sangiovese grape. Prugnolo, translating roughly to “prune,” refers to the color, shape and smell of the grape at harvest. This particular wine is made up of 90% Prugnolo, with the remaining 10% being comprised of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. According to the spec sheet on the winery’s website, it saw 18 months in Allier Oak casks and another 10 months aging in bottles before release. I was a little surprised at this because DOCG requirements for Vino Nobile prescribe a minimum 2 years in oak. Upon further reading, I found that DOCG does allow for 18 months of oak aging as long as bottle/vessel aging exceeds 2 years.  Prior to aging, this wine was macerated for 20 days with repeated stirring and Malolactic Fermentation.

2004corteallafloraMy Tasting Notes –

Nose – raspberry, red currant, mushroom, slightly “barny”

Taste – raspberry, truffle oil, green bell pepper

Mouthfeel – medium bodied, with slightly sharp acidity and leathery tannins

Finish – long with lingering red fruit flavors

In recent years Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has lost a bit of its “Nobile” status by failing to offer the quality it was once known for. I haven’t had very many of these wines but I thought the quality of this one was fine, which exhibited solid fruit and earthy characteristics and classic old world mouthfeel. For around $15 it is a great value and introduction to the wine.


Categories: $10-$20, wine review | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Tuesday Quick Sip – 2005 Ca’ del Solo Nebbiolo

Megan and I picked up the 2005 Ca’ del Solo Nebbiolo from Bonny Doon Vineyards back in November while were visiting the Santa Cruz area wineries. The Ca’ del Solo vineyard is Bonny Doon’s Biodynamic vineyard that received Demeter certification in 2007.

2005cadelsolo_nebbioloWine Quick Facts:

Grape: 100% Nebbiolo

Vineyard: Ca’ del Solo, Monterey County

Price: $30

My Tasting Notes:

Nose: tomato paste, raspberry, persimmon, earth, espresso

Taste: black tea, raspberry, cherry, dried mushroom

Mouthfeel: full body, dry leathery tannins but not overpowering, good acidic backbone

Finish: “dusty” and long with red fruit flavors lingering

I really enjoyed this Nebbiolo, probably one of the better ones I have tasted from the U.S. A bit pricey at $30, I think we paid around $20 with the industry discount, it is still a good deal. Although under 900 cases were produced it has pretty good distribution so you should be able to find it at your local shop.


Categories: $20-$30, Nebbiolo, wine review | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Virginia Wine Council Legislative Update

Below are some updates from the lastest Virginia Wine Council newsletter on recent legislation going before the House and Senate

VWC Legislation Passes Both the House and Senate

We reported last week that HB2071 and SB1033 were on their third readings and were up for a vote by the full House and Senate. Both bills have passed unanimously! HB2071 has been communicated to the Senate for consideration. Because the bills are in identical form, we expect unanimous passage in House and Senate committees, following Crossover on February 10.  As you are aware, the VWC sought sponsorship of these bills to amend Section 15.2-2288.3 to provide that localities must take into consideration the agricultural nature of farm wineries before attempting to restrict the on-site marketing and sale of wine. Delegate Ed Scott (R-Culpeper) and Senator Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) sponsored HB2071 and SB1033, respectively.”

VWC Succeeds in Amending Threatening ABC Legislation

Last week we reported that Delegate Tommy Wright (R-Lunenburg) had sponsored legislation that would permit the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to revoke the licenses of any establishment, including farm wineries, for certain enumerated activities. Under the introduced form of the bill, a license could have been suspended or revoked if a licensee operated the licensed premises (e.g., a farm winery) in such a manner so as to adversely affect real property values within the adjacent area.  A license could also have been revoked if a licensee substantially interfered with the usual quietude and tranquility of an adjacent residence or residential area.

If this legislation had been enacted, disgruntled neighbors of Virginia wineries could claimed that the everyday activities of those wineries have had lowered the value of their adjacent property or disrupted their quietude (machinery, events, traffic, etc.). Working with the sponsor of the bill, the Speaker of the House, and Curtis Coleburn of ABC, we amended the bill by striking all of the language relating to property values and usual quietude. This amended language has been reported (passed) by the General Laws Committee ABC/Gaming subcommittee and will be voted on by the full committee next week.”

VWC Defeats Attempt to Further Regulate Farm Wineries

Delegate Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax) submitted HB2606 that would have allowed Virginia counties operating under the urban county form of government to further regulate the operations of farm wineries, despite the existing prohibition contained in Virginia Code Section 15.2-2288.3. Currently, only Fairfax County is organized under urban county governance. The VWC actively opposed this bill, because of the potential of its extension to other counties in future years. Fortunately, the VWC was not alone in its desire to protect the interests of the wine industry in Virginia. The House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee voted to pass the bill by indefinitely on a voice vote Wednesday morning, meaning that the bill was defeated. Delegates Chris Saxman (R-Staunton) and Bobby Orrock (R-Caroline) deserve much credit for leading the charge to defend our industry against this legislation. In committee, Delegate Saxman openly praised farm wineries for their contribution to agriculture and tourism and discouraged any attempt at new regulation by localities.”

Senate Committee Passes Legislation to Save Wine of the Month Club

Senator Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) sponsored legislation on behalf of his constituent, Willis Logan, to clarify that he may continue his present business model of soliciting wine club memberships at wine festivals and events. In recent months, ABC had ruled that such solicitation constituted a sale of alcohol and was therefore not permitted under present law. The bill, known as SB1445 , will permit “wine of the month club” operators to solicit memberships at any location for which a permit to consume alcohol has been issued, including restaurants.

As part of that solicitation, wine clubs may take applications from consumers that include forms of payment. The VWC worked to amend an earlier version of the legislation that would have allowed any in or out-of-state wine shipper to solicit wine club memberships anywhere at any time in the Commonwealth. Naturally, our concern was that large out of state shippers would be able to set up booths in Costcos or street corners. Although it would have been unconstitutional for the Virginia legislature to favor Virginia wine clubs over out of state ones, by limiting the places where memberships may be solicited to ABC-on establishments and events for both in and out-of-state wine clubs, Virginia wineries retain greater control.”

If you would like to get updates from the Virginia Wine Council click here to subscribe to their newsletter.


Categories: virginia wine, wine industry issues | Tags: , , | Leave a comment