An Insanely Delicious Kiwi Interloper
Tamra Kelly-Washington is a gifted winemaker and one who goes the extra mile for every one of her carefully crafted wines. Highly experienced, having worked to great acclaim in both Europe and also her homeland of New Zealand, she consults for Michael Seresins wines in Marlborough and is responsible for giving his portfolio an exquisite, new lease of life. She also works with her husband, Simon, on their family wine label, and this newly released pinot will show you, in just one sip, why she is a force to be reckoned with and a name to follow very closely.
The grapes are sourced from the Monte Rosa vineyard in my favourite sub-region of Central Otago, Gibbston. The wines from this part of Otago are particularly fragrant and graceful, and in slightly warmer vintages they summon up marvellous, stylish juiciness. In 2018, Tamra used 20% whole bunches to bring enviable spice and tension to this silky red, and with 28% new French oak used for 11 months, there is an underlying classiness and flamboyance which echoes the elevated level of ripeness found in this vintage. This is a perfect example of a winemaker using sensitivity, taste and experience to exactly match the terrific calibre of her pinot fruit to the precise recipe needed to create an insanely delicious wine.
Drinking well already, and with a rather chaotic 2019 Burgundy En Primeur circus going on around us this month, find solace in this Kiwi interloper.
Best California Red: Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Region: Napa Valley, California | ABV: 14.1% | Tasting Notes: Blackberry, Brown spices, Vanilla bean
Today, thanks to co-owner Peter Mondavi Jr.’s leadership, Charles Krug winery is a pillar of Napa Valley. With longtime winemaker Stacy Clark at the helm, the wines are utterly delightful, classically structured and decidedly age-worthy.
I try to find off-the-beaten-path producers who inspire me with a story and passion. … Of course, one shouldnt ignore the classics however, there are too many great wines in this world to stop exploring past the point of comfort. Alexandra Neverov, Sommelier, Topping Rose House
Best Light Red: 2019 Marcel Lapierre Vin De France Raisins Gaulois
Courtesy of Wine.com
Region: France | ABV: 11.5% | Tasting Notes: Blueberry, Strawberry, Red Cherry, Pomegranate
Most peoples first experience of the gamay grape is with Beaujolais Nouveau, a lighthearted French specialty typically consumed young and usually reminiscent of sweet soda pop. But gamay can make excellent light-bodied, dry reds that strike a fine balance between playful and serious, like this carefree quaffer from renowned late winemaker Marcel Lapierre.
The organic fruit for this wine comes from prime Beaujolais real estate, but the bottling is classified as a French table wine because its made from young vineswhich is part of what makes it so refreshing . Bright, vivid flavors of blueberry, cherry, strawberry, pomegranate, and cranberry make this light, fruity wine remarkably easy to drink.
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Become Well Versed In The World Of Reds With These Delicious Essentials
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So you think you want to get into wine? Its not for the faint of heart. There are so many wines out there: amazing wines, confounding wines, perplexing wines wines from many countries, many regions. Any time you think youve learned the names of every grape variety in existence, you havent .
Though the journey is treacherous, there are great rewards to be had when you stumble upon the perfect wine that gives you that invigorating heady kiss that stays with you forever. Merlot did that for the Baby Boomer generation of wine lovers before one guyan actor in a movieruined merlot for every Generation X consumer. I refuse to name the movie . Chris Sawyer is a sommelier based in Sonoma, Calif., a renowned wine judge, and author of The Sommelier Files, a weekly digest. He says, “We have the highest-quality merlot on the market than weve ever had. The folks who kept it in the ground care so much for it. And thats exactly the point I want to drive home: The more you care, the more youll learnand the better the world of wine will be.
Best Overall: 2019 Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir
Courtesy of Wine.com
Region: Oregon | ABV: 13.5%| Tasting Notes: Cherry, Raspberry, Dark Chocolate, Caramel
With bright, flavorful fruit and a soft, inviting texture, this Oregon pinot noir is the ultimate beginners wine. Not too light or too heavy, nor too sweet or too dry, its fruit-forward with some pleasant savory accents that add subtle complexity. A winemaking technique called whole-cluster fermentation, in which grapes are fermented whole rather than crushed makes the red and purple berry fruit juicy, lively, and fun.
When youre new to wine, its best to start with something thats very well-balanced, like this easygoing pinot, so you can get a clear sense of what you like. Everything is moderate here, from the body to the acidity to the tannic structure. So if youre craving something bolder, you might want to try a more tannic cab or zin if youd rather go lighter, you can turn to whites and rosés. But for many people, this delicious, approachable wine will be just right.
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Do You Want A Party Atmosphere Or An Intimate One
Ambience is important when choosing your wine tasting rooms. As you plan your Sonoma wine tasting weekend, ponder what type of atmosphere you want your tastings to take place in.
Would you prefer a large commercial tasting area where you can enjoy shuffleboard and bocce ball? A rock and roll lounge with a fun party atmosphere? A quiet table for two overlooking lavender fields? A private, custom experience in the vintners own home?
If youre looking to connect with loved ones, perhaps you want more intimate shared experiences. If youre just looking for a good time with friends or colleagues, you might prefer the freedom of a commercial tasting space. Its all down to you and your group and dont be afraid to switch up the vibe a few times in your wine tasting route!
Lingua Franca 2015 Mimis Mind Pinot Noir Eolaamity Hills
Lingua Franca 2015 Mimis Mind Pinot Noir, EolaAmity Hills Courtesy of Lingua Franca
Just when American taste for Pinot Noir is beginning to lean toward a more Burgundian styleand eyes turn to Oregons cool Willamette Valley, where earthy, savory Pinot is possiblea new winery has emerged there as a leader of the trend, with bottles that channel the French model in the best New World way. Lingua Franca was the vision of master sommelier Larry Stone, whose roots go deep in both restaurants and winery oversight . When legendary Burgundy vigneron Dominique Lafon saw the potential of Stones vineyard in Oregon, he signed on as consulting winemaker, working with his protege Thomas Savre as the winemaker with boots on the ground. The teams first stab at Mimis Mind, the 2015 vintage , is a compelling debutdeep, complex and distinctly savory. Elegant structure and vibrant energy carry a mix of earthy mushroom, leather, herb and spice notes, along with tangy red and black fruit.
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Finding Wines You Love
Wine is there for your enjoyment. Whether you begin your wine journey by taking some of the best wines for beginners suggestions made here or decide to venture out on your own, try tasting a few different bottles of a certain type of red or white wine to really get a feel for it. Use the resources available to you, as well. Ask a local wine shop owner to recommend a wine for a new palate. He or she will surely have some suggestions you will love.
Best Red: 2018 True Myth Cabernet Sauvignon
Courtesy of Wine.com
Region: California | ABV: 14.2%| Tasting Notes: Blackberry, Blueberry, Cedar, Cola
For beginners who know they love a full-bodied red, its impossible to go wrong with California cabernet sauvignon. This plush, rich bottling comes from the Central Coasts Paso Robles region, known for a warm, dry, and sunny climate thats ideal for producing ripe, user-friendly wines.
The True Myth Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the best values youll find there, with powerful dark fruit flavors of blackberry, blueberry, and plum accented by vanilla, spice, cola, and toasty oak notes. The tannins here add structure but are not too drying, and a splash of acidity keeps this big wine from feeling heavy or overpowering.
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Best Wine Tasting Club/group Names
Are you organizing a wine tasting club and contemplating what the best name for it would be? There is nothing to be confused about. We are only here to provide you with innovative, one-of-a-kind wine tasting group titles that you will certainly find appealing. Simply read the article completely and choose a name from our extensive database that you believe would be the greatest match for your wine tasting club, and youre done! Weve also included some tips and techniques that youll need when going through the selection process, so make sure to read those as well.
You must be creative and catchy with the name so that more and more wine tasters and visitors sign up to participate in the event from the start. This page contains a comprehensive list of presently available names. We have included cool wine tasting club names, creative wine tasting club names, and so on. Choose your preferred one from the collection, or use your creative DNA to create a unique one for yourself, and youll be ready to go!
Lets get straight into naming your very own wine tasting group/club:
Why Trust The Spruce Eats
Tanisha Townsend is a wine educator, podcaster, and writer currently living her best wine life in Paris, France. Due to the current situation in the world, and bars and restaurants being closed, her pandemic purchases have included several wine tasting kits to keep her skills fresh and serve as a fun activity to use with her virtual clients.
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Best White: Giesen Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 0% Alcohol
Courtesy of Total Wine
Region: Marlborough | Body: Light-Bodied | Tasting Notes: Citrus, Currant
Although best known for their alcoholic sauvignon blanc, Giesens 0% bottling is produced with just as much TLC as the boozy stuff. To create this wine, Giesen takes their full-strength sauvignon blanc and uses spinning cone technology to gently extract the alcohol from the wine. The resulting product is just as aromatic and flavor-packed as the original wine, just without the booze. Expect flavors of lime, citrus rind, and passionfruit to lead to a zesty and dry finish.
Characteristics Assessed During Tasting
Varietal character describes how much a wine presents its inherent grape aromas. A wine taster also looks for integration, which is a state in which none of the components of the wine is out of balance with the other components. When a wine is well balanced, the wine is said to have achieved a harmonious fusion.
Another important quality of the wine to look for is its expressiveness. Expressiveness is the quality the “wine possesses when its aromas and flavors are well-defined and clearly projected.” The complexity of the wine is affected by many factors, one of which may be the multiplicity of its flavors. The connectedness of the wine, a rather abstract and difficult to ascertain quality, describes the bond between the wine and its land of origin .
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Best Under $: Famille Perrin Vinsobres Les Cornuds 2017
Courtesy of Famille Perrin
Region: France, Rhone, Vinsobres | ABV: 13.5% | Tasting Notes: Cherry, Currant, Raspberry, Stone.
Nestled along Frances Southern Rhône Valley, The Perrin familys history of winemaking goes back five generationsonly decent longevity by French standards. This bottle of Les Cornuds is a blend of half grenache and half syrah, two varieties that thrive in the region. And the 2017 vintage benefited from a record-high dry year with a small grape crop, but intense, elegant flavors.
Dana Estates 2016 Hershey Vineyard Howell Mountain Napa Valley
Dana Estates 2016 Hershey Vineyard Howell Mountain Joshua Scott
Theres no shortage of candidates for this award. From Napa Valley, Sonoma and Californias Central Coast to eastern Washington, producers have honed Cabernet Sauvignon to exquisite levels. But in Napa Valley, a region that always stands out, one producer consistently achieves perfect balance among structure, complexity and beautiful fruit: Dana Estates, shaped by the winemaking team of Chris Cooney and consultant Philippe Melka. While Dana produces deserving Cabernets from three different vineyards, its the winerys 2016 Hershey Vineyard on Howell Mountain that gets our nod this year. With an intensity that reflects its mountain source, the wine manages elegance and finesse as well. Juicy dark berry flavors are layered with complex notes of spice, smoke, underbrush, espresso, dark chocolate and lovely minerality. The tannins have a grip that suggests this one will unfold beautifully over many years. Give it time.
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Southold Farm + Cellar All Things Go 2018
It doesnât get more âTexasâ than this wine. It hits the nose with spicy-sweet aromas of pineapple salsa and pickled chili peppers. It grips the palate with pickley, peppery salinity and zest. Weâve never tasted anything quite like it. We canât think of a better pairing for carnitas tacos from the spit, pineapple juice dripping, and corn tortillas hot from the grill.
Domaine Carneros By Taittinger Ultra Brut 2015
Pop this Napa sparkler when youâre craving Champagne but donât have that Champagne cash. Or even if you do. It starts with a welcoming nose of brioche, flaky pastry and soft, earthy fruit. Following that, a firm grip on the palate, with vibrant bubbles and a heightened perception of acidity cleanses the palate. Itâs a joy to drink, so donât wait too long for the right moment.
A wonderful representation of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Itâs impeccably balanced, elegant yet powerful, and not overly acidic. It fills the palate with cherry, white pepper, and cinnamon flavors, pleasurable to the very last sip.
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Best South African: Beeslaar Pinotage 2018
Courtesy of Vivino
Region: South Africa, Stellenbosch | ABV: 14.5% | Tasting Notes: Cherry, Plum, Vanilla, Crème brûlée.
Winemaker Abrie Beeslaar used to lend his expertise to Kanonkop, another winery in the highly regarded Stellenbosch region, but now runs his own label in the same South African landscape. Pinotage, an inky cousin of pinot noir spliced with cinsault, has been around since the 1920s, but most growers didnt know how to turn it into great wine until the 21st century. This particular 2018 bottle from Beeslaar is the latest in an upward-trending profile for the pinotage, a distinctly South African wine.
Four Simply Stunning English Wines
I have been waiting a while to taste the amazingly talented Liam Idzikowskis new creations since he left Lyme Bay to work with Michael and Heather Bunker and their exceptionally well-situated, young vineyard in Danbury in Essex. Its wines are everything I hoped they would be and more, and you ought to do everything you can to find a bottle or two. Only 10,132 bottles were produced of my featured wine and the other three in this piece.
The reason for my excitement about these wines is their sheer impact and luxuriousness on the nose and palate. These are wines that do not, in any way, shape or form, seem like they come from a cool climate. My featured chardonnay is terrifically smooth, mildly exotic, juicily oaky, incredibly long, amazingly ripe and fabulously ostentatious. Its big brother, 2018 Chardonnay Octagon Block , is even more structured and concentrated and, even though the oak is ridiculously expressive, it is a sensationally balanced wine. The 2018 Pinot Noir is equally posh and plush, with Volnay-like appeal and its texture is unlike any English pinot noir to date. The 2018 Pinot Noir Octagon Block adds even more spice, drama, head-turning fruit density and prodigious length. These are true signposts pointing the way for us all to a stunning future for English wine.
2018 Close Encounters, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Famille Perrin, Southern Rhône, France
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Enroute Brumaire Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2018
Butterscotch, banana chips, vanilla, and just the right amount of oak float on the nose of this smoothie and easy-drinking, yet complex Chardonnay. It practically begs for a California pairing like goat cheese and arugula salad with walnuts, or grilled chicken. As our tastings director says, this wine is âthe future of American Chardonnay.â
Best Chilean: J Bouchon Pas Salvaje
Courtesy of Plonk Wine Club
Region: Central Valley, Chile | ABV: 12.5% | Tasting Notes: Red fruits, Cherry, Wild Strawberry, Floral
Never heard of País before? If you love earthy, medium-bodied reds with tons of acid, then this historic grape needs to be on your radar.
Produced from organically farmed vineyards in the heart of Chiles Central Valley, this flavor-packed wine jumps with notes of wild strawberries, red flower petals and wild herbs. For a crowd-pleasing red that promises to satisfy the masses, look no further than this tasty, budget-friendly option.
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